AresJoxerCupidStrife - Corona


Welcome Back
The Chase
Down to Earth, Part 1
Down to Earth, Part 2
Flowes in Shade
The Chariot
You Did What
Specialist Subject: Combat
Specialist Subject: Archery
Princess
Great Balls of Fire
Asphodel
Misery 1
Misery 2
Mischief
The Snake
Confessions
Identification Required 1
Identification Required 2
Nothing But Grey
Personal Growth
Reaction
Equal and Opposite
Family Business
Consolation Prize 1
Consolation Prize 2
Dreams
Words
Precognition
Debauchery
Legends
Resolution
Curiouser
Queen For A Day
Points Of View
Heartless
What You Are
Pieces
Rings And Roses
Onwards and Upwards

Title: Growing Up 1: Welcome Back
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: We meet up with the boys six months later at the grand old age of twelve, a reintroduction of sorts.

"Give me back my pants you brainless mutt" Ares slapped a hand on the paper piled on his desk as his nephew produced enough slipstream to suck everything in. Then Erin vaulted the couch, got tangled in the rug and fell on the dog. Graegus 'grrd' playfully, wiggled out from under assorted limbs and raced off trailing black fabric.
"Come back!" Ares slapped down a hand again, lifted his mug out of the way of a trailing shirt sleeve.

Erin and Graegus disappeared into the kitchen, there were several loud crashes, then a moment of silence. Erin reappeared with his pants bunched at his chest.
"If I find one hole in these you're in serious trouble dog!" Erin shook them out, examined them in minute detail, then tugged them on. Graegus reappeared bouncing ecstatically.
"Get away from me and stop trailing snot, oh thank you that was my knee" Erin shoved the huge nose away.

"Out, you've been fed. No, bad dog" Erin hopped into a boot while Graegus was busy impressing him by eating his own tail.
"Erin?" he hopped into the other boot.
"Hmm" Ares lifted a scroll, waved it.
"Give this to Aphrodite" he tossed it, Erin caught it and shoved it into the waistband of his pants.

"Sure, sure" Ares paused a beat.
"Who are you giving it to?" Erin blinked.
"Aphrodite"
"Just checking" Erin looked sheepish, snatched his belt from where it hung round the door knob.
"I'll be back...later" then he vanished. Ares eyes went from the table to the door.
A second later Erin blasted back through, chuckled, then grabbed the thing off the table, pushed it very carefully into the negligible space in the back of his pants. Then he was gone again. Ares sighed, set his mug back down, right now what the hell was he doing again?

---

"Mom!" Aphrodite looked up from the mirror, her son was waist deep in the closet, wings flapping against the door frame in obvious frustration.
"Yes Sweetie" a muffled thud and a curse.
"I can't find it!" Aphrodite ground her teeth daintily. You'd think it would be impossible wouldn't you, only her son could do this on a regular basis.

"Where did you leave it?" last time it had been on top of Asclepius door frame, or had that been the time it fell in Hera's fishpond and speared one of her prized purple fish.

"I dunno" more agitated wing slapping.
"I just put it down somewhere I guess" a mop of blonde hair appeared then disappeared.
"It's probably not lost exactly, it's just not here" Aphrodite rubbed very carefully on the bridge of her nose.

"Have you checked under your bed?" Cupid snorted.
"It's not gonna be there!" She managed just barely not to growl.
"Just go and check" Cupid sighed with such an air of long sufferance that Aphrodite was tempted to laugh. He slouched off to check mumbling all the while.

She swivelled to reface the mirror and shrugged at her reflection.

---

Erin skidded down the long corridor, nearly ran smack into a whirlwind coming the other way, which couldn't be anyone but Hermes. Clattered past a statue of Aphrodite, stopped, looked at it, peered around. Then shook his head, giggled and went running again.

He practically fell through the doors.
"Hi Aunt Dite!" Dite waved a hand in the direction of Cupid's room and went back to doing her nails. Erin started off, then stopped.
"Oh Aunt Dite?" he tugged the scroll out.
"From Uncle Ares" he didn't toss it but settled it carefully down next to a tiny bottle of nail polish rendered perfectly in glass. Aphrodite glared at it for a minute.
"Oh what now" she muttered quietly and glared at it.

Erin skirted round the couch and skidded to a stop in front of Cupid's open door. He tilted his head to one side, considered the feet sticking out from under the bed and giggled. There came a thud from the depths and muffled swearing.
"What'cha doing?" the feet wiggled, scraped across the marble, then a thigh appeared followed closely by lower back and a very dusty head.

"It's gone" Cupid muttered, then pulled a face, made a noise and spat out dust.
"Again" he peered under the bed again just to make sure.

"Really?" Erin offered wide eyed and innocent.
"Yeah I mean-" Cupid stopped, tilted his head.
"You've seen it haven't you?" Erin just grinned.
"Oh Erin come on, Mom's gonna go ballistic if I lose it again." Cupid shuffled up out of the dust.
"Where is it, come on." Erin sighed and wrapped a hand around his back, very carefully tugged Cupid's bow out of the back of his pants.

Cupid whined as Erin handed it over.
"What's the deal with carrying it around everywhere anyway." Cupid fumbled for a few minutes, then managed to hook it onto his pants.
"It's to get used to it being there, you have to lug it around for a coupla hundred years to make sure you're not gonna lose it."
"It's heavy and it keeps poking me in the leg" Cupid shifted it to one side, then shifted it back again.

"I mean so what if I want to just put it down somewhere every once in a while, who's gonna take it?" he scowled and rearranged it again.
"When I finally do get a sword they're gonna bash against each other, Tartarus I'm gonna clank when I walk. Everyone will hear me coming a mile off." Cupid took it off, swung his belt round and hooked it on the other side.
"I might as well wear spoons and the odd plate and be done with it."

Erin flopped back on the bed.
"I wouldn't, God of Culinary skills you are not"
"If it was any heavier my pants would fall down-wait what?" Erin peered up from the mound of cushions he'd sunk into.
"You can't even materialise a decent pie and you wouldn't know a wok if you fell in one."
"What's a wok?"
"It's a hat" Erin offered in all seriousness, though Cupid didn't quite believe him.

"Oh I don't care what a wok is" He unhooked the bow again and tried hooking it under his arm, realised quickly that wasn't a good look for him. Erin watched him swear, pull it off again and throw it on the bed.

"Where'd you eventually put yours anyway?" Erin pulled the back of his shirt up and tapped the hilt with his nails.
"Only you would keep a big knife in the back of your pants" Erin pulled it out.
"It's not a knife it's a dagger besides it fits" Cupid shot him a glance over his shoulder and flung open the wardrobe doors.
"So have you stabbed yourself in the arse yet?"
"Delicately put" a pair of boots went flying over his head.
"Yeah, so have you?" Erin glared at Cupid's back.

"Maybe once or twice" very unflattering snorty noises as Cupid swam through a collection of boots, shoes, sandals and slippers that could outfit an entire army, it probably made up for his lack of shirts.
"Are you quite finished?" Erin giggled since Cupid had yet to perfect his 'glaring through the back of his head' technique which his Dad did so well.

"I can't find my boots" Erin flopped back on the bed and stared at Cupid's yellow ceiling.
"And which pair would that be?" another unidentified piece of footwear clunked against the wall.
"The black ones with the little chains" Erin rolled his eyes.

"Behind the door where you left them" Cupid made an 'Aha' noise and crawled across the carpet. The door swung to one side. Erin shook his head against the sheets, while noises of leg straining went on. When they stopped he sat up.

Cupid was glaring at himself in the mirror. He stood up
"Ok enough posing, lets go!" he grabbed a shoulder and Cupid let himself be dragged out of the door.
"The mirror is your friend you know, you should introduce one to your hair sometime." Erin tugged harder.
"Yeah and if you don't start moving I'm gonna introduce my boot to your arse" Cupid chuckled and followed him out of the doors.

Aunt Dite was still sitting in her chair staring at her reflection, unsurprising considering, though her self improvement for the day was in mid pause.
"Cupid" he stopped, peered at his mother.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" he blinked, Erin shook his head and folded his arms. Cupid looked at him, looked at his Mom.
"Huh?" Erin nudged him.
"Bow" he provided.

"Awh nuts" Cupid flopped off in the direction of his room.



Title: Growing Up 2: The Chase
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Erin wakes up, Artemis gets walloped, the boys wind up where they shouldn't, Cupid panics a lot, and then Erin gets scared to death.

Erin was asleep, not drowsing but wonderful deep completely oblivious sleep. The sleep that only children and godlings could get into. He had one arm thrown over his head and the other was curled somewhere round his back. A leg was hanging over the edge of the bed and the sheet was tangled around his waist tight enough to hold his stomach flat when he breathed in. It was completely perfect.

Cupid very carefully tugged a feather out of his left wing, crept up to the headboard, leant over and slid it into Erin's left nostril.

Erin's entire body tried to jerk upright and sneeze at the same time. All that he accomplished was a jerky slump to the side and a horrendous snort. Cupid bent double and laughed, mostly through his nose.

He laughed until he couldn't see a thing while Erin made angry trying to get untangled noises. Though he had just enough presence of mind to hurtle out of the room when bare feet hit marble.

"Cupid!" Cupid yelped and skidded off across the temple.

---

Erin stopped barefooted outside the door, caught a flash of wing hurtling out of the main doors.
Erin looked down, snapped his fingers.

Well okay the shirt was on backwards and the pants weren't actually done up but he could fix that on the way.

He sprinted across the room, tumbled over a rack holding several dozen scrolls, which cheerfully flew in all directions, yanked the door wide and took off. It was early but Olympus was already alive and he had to stop short to avoid decapitating a very surprised looking muse.

"Sorry" he squeak/slithered round the corner on bare feet and stopped, glaring up the main hallway.

---

Cupid held his breath, the pillar was chilly against the back of his head and he couldn't see a thing. He could however hear bare feet slapping on marble. He could materialize a mirror but that would defeat the point as Erin would be able to quite clearly see him as well. He settled for standing absolutely motionless and not breathing.

The slapping feet came closer, then veered away, Cupid had a horrible urge to giggle. He pressed himself tighter backwards resisting the need to peer out. The slapping feet had stopped and Cupid didn't have a clue where they'd ended up.

He could make a run for it but Erin was way faster than him. He'd need a head start and that wouldn't happen if Erin was right behind him. In fact he was about to run again when another set of feet entered hearing range, right in front of him, someone was about to come through the doors.

Someone who would be in direct line of vision with him. He blinked, then very slowly eased away from the marble. The handle turned, the door opened. He didn't wait to see who it was, he sprinted for the gap. He ignored the annoyed sound behind him and slipped through, brushing past a female shape that he didn't have time to identify.

---

Erin collided with his Aunt and they both went crashing into the wall.

Artemis didn't look happy, she untangled herself with a growl while Erin remained slumped on the floor trying to make Olympus stop spinning.
"What the Tartarus are you doing, hurling yourself round Olympus like a bull!" Now she looked mad. She grabbed her bow and a ream of fabric off of the floor and straightened her skirt.

"Haven't you two ever heard of walking, you're not a horse!" Erin straightened with a little help from the wall.
"Do you want to be a horse?" She looked as if she just might be serious and no Erin didn't fancy being a horse thank you very much anyway.
"No Aunt Artie" She was still scowling.
"Well walk then!" He figured the lecture was over, Artie looked distracted, he might just be able to sneak away while she was muttering to herself and checking her fabric.

He sidled round her in a quick walking way, throwing careful backward glances in case she called him back and changed her mind about turning him equine. When she was out of eyesight he took off again at a sprint.

---

Cupid darted into the nearest temple, then thought very seriously about darting straight out again. He hovered in the doorway for a second, then very carefully tip toed across the floor. No one was home but that wasn't necessarily a good thing where Phonos was concerned, he knew a hell of a lot about booby traps. His Dad had scared the crap out of him when he was little, telling him tales about people who got caught sneaking into one of Murder's temples.
"Oh Crap" he decided that waiting just near the widest pillar was ok, he could zip out again when Erin went past.

Until then he could just hope fervently that Phonos wouldn't pop home and find him skulking in his temple, he'd have to break the rules and flash out if that happened. He was not being dragged by an ear through the Halls of Olympus by his cousin today, no thank you very much.

He tested the pillar just to make sure no awful spiked contraption was going to shoot out of the marble and disembowel him. That was never a good way to start the day and ok he was a little uncomfortable being in here but it was the rules. Besides Erin was really unlikely to look for him in here. So he settled back against the marble and stopped breathing.

---

"Oh damn it all to Tartarus!" Erin stopped in the middle of the corridor, eyes flipping from wall to wall. Did Cupid's reckless use of Artemis count as outside help, probably not. Which meant they were still playing by the rules, Cupid was on foot and he was around here somewhere. He looked down the two easiest corridors. One led through the gardens and one led to the forge. Way too easy. The third one though, Erin's eyebrow flipped up.

"You wouldn't?"

---

Cupid peered round the side of the pillar. The doors were still there, still half open and empty, and it was as quiet as you could get unless you counted when your ears did the pressure thing. He stayed there quietly for a few minutes, then peered out again.

Straight into blue eyes which were looking horribly smug.

He had enough time for a yelp and a backpedal before he was eating temple floor.
"You are so caught. As a side note, you went in here, are you mad?" Cupid grumbled something and Erin let go enough so that he could sit up. Something flickered in the corner of his eye and he watched for a few second before panicking.

"Erin, Erin!" Cupid flopped a hand on top of Erin's head and jerked it in the directions of the doors, which were sliding shut with silent but certain intent. Cupid made a whiny noise that he would deny later and they scrambled to their feet.

Erin kicked off from the floor, Cupid slipped a hand into Erin's belt because no way was he getting left behind. They ran headlong at the doors.

Erin skidded and spun, Cupid learnt the meaning of centrifugal force when he lost his handhold and was hurled at the rapidly closing gap. He had just enough time to squeal before flinging his arms out. They hit the doors while his face nudged into the gap which was way too small now to even attempt safe passage. It was quite fortunate that he lost his grip and went sliding to the floor while using his nose as a break.

The doors shut with a thud.

Cupid made a tiny noise and pulled his nose away from the wall, clambered to his feet. Erin rolled his eyes sideways.

"This isn't good" they both stared at the wall for a second, then very carefully turned around.

The seconds dripped away but no flames or spinning blades appeared to slice them into pieces. The walls didn't look like they were about to start closing in either.

"What happens now?" Cupid whispered. Erin didn't wanna take his eyes off the room.

"I don't know, sharp things most probably." He didn't get far above a whisper either.

"If I get shredded into tiny pieces my Mom will kill me." Cupid said shakily.

Erin was quiet for a minute. Cupid swallowed and blew hair out of his face.
"Maybe it was the wind"
"Huh"
"The door, maybe it blew shut" Cupid felt like exclaiming the door had tried to eat his nose and this was definitely not the wind, it was personal. He had a feeling that would end up sounding much better in his head.

Erin was already shoving at the doors with a shoulder. Then when that didn't work, both hands, then he tried pulling at the handles.
"Still think it was the wind?" Erin turned around and pressed back against the wood.

"You had to come in here didn't you." Cupid was already regretting his decision and didn't feel like having mental company.

"I wasn't planning on staying, I was just gonna stand by the pillar and wait for you to go past. It would have been fine if you hadn't sent me sprawling across the floor." Cupid wasn't too scared to be annoyed, he elbowed him, hard.

"You must have been here, he trains you!" Erin nodded

"To hurt people in interesting and inventive ways, it's not like he invites me back for tea and little cakes." Cupid wasn't sure what he'd do if Phonos offered him little cakes, probably throw them at him and run screaming.

"Never?" Cupid had dropped his voice to a whisper

"Never"

"Fine so we just flash out" Erin shook his head and Cupid felt every internal organ his body had go 'squelch'.

"No?"

"Murder's paranoid enough without people flashing in and out of his personal space." Cupid's wings started fluttering.

"You mean we're trapped! We're Gods we can't be trapped, that's impossible, not to mention stupid!"

Something clanked against the floor. Cupid attached himself to Erin's shoulders, which were tight enough as it was.

"What was that!" he mumbled from somewhere in the region of Erin's left ear.

"I dunno!" Erin snapped but he didn't look like he was going to pull away any time soon. Two sets of eyes were drawn to a shield which was slowly rotating on the floor. It spun gently to a stop.

"Phonos wouldn't have anything in here which would actually hurt us right?" Erin looked at Cupid like he was mad. Something creaked in another room and Cupid made little finger marks in Erin's arm. Metal screeched faintly against metal somewhere above them.

"Find a door!" Erin grabbed him when he tried to slide sideways.

"No, doors would be a bad idea, remember Hera's snake pit with the floorboards that don't exist" Cupid reattached himself to Erin.

"Window" Erin gestured with an arm. Said window was open, blowing black curtains to and fro. Erin strode purposely towards it and carefully prodded the desk in front of it with a finger before vaulting up.

"Is it safe?" Erin frowned down at him.

"It's a window how dangerous can it get."

Cupid had a lot of ideas about how dangerous a window could get but he climbed up beside Erin and looked down. He breathed a sigh of relief. Erin very gently eased back away from the edge, looking white.

"That's a long way down." Erin very gently started to back away.

"No, no, no." because Cupid wasn't going on his own.

"We'll fly into the temple below, it should be Nike's right." Erin was still shaking his head.

"No way, I'd rather stay here with the spiky things."

"Erin I can carry my Mom and you are in no way as heavy as my Mom, though don't tell her I said that." Erin stopped backing away but didn't come any closer, he was still shaking his head.

"I've seen the way you fly" Cupid scowled, pointed a finger at the desk.

"Get over here" Erin was looking really unhealthy.

Cupid stopped scowling. "Unless of course you don't trust me?" Erin made an angry noise and crawled back up onto the desk. His hands were shaking and his legs looked anything but steady.

"Oh Zeus" he put a hand on the ledge, peered up through wide eyes.

Cupid stepped back into midair and Erin's throat convulsed. He flapped and hovered, stayed hovering no plummeting at all. Which didn't help the way Erin's throat was very slowly closing off.

"Oh Zeus" Cupid stuck a foot out.

"You'll be fine, step on, I'll go slow, no loop looping I promise." Erin leant until his head crushed against the window sill.

"Can't I just stay here, I don't mind taking my chances with the spiky things." The screech returned and Erin's head tilted upwards. Black spikes were gradually madking there way across the gap, the window was about to be barred, permanently.

"Erin, now would be good."

"This is all your fault" Erin snapped and pulled himself slowly upright.

He settled one foot on Cupid's wrapped both arms around his neck and shut his eyes. Then there was no ground so he thought it would be a very good idea if he pretended he didn't exist for the next few minutes.

---

"Erin?" someone was poking him, correction Cupid was poking him. Cautiously he opened an eye.

"We're down." Erin opened the other eye, carefully looked down. There was indeed floor beneath him. He let all his breath out explosively and got off Cupid's foot.

"Well that wasn't cool."

"I'm still blaming you, stay outta there next time cos I won't come in and find you." Cupid was looking smug enough to merit a glare. Erin seriously thought about hitting him, decided not to since no one could be annoyed in Nike's temple. It was so shiny and green.

"Oh get over yourself" Cupid was still looking smug.

"Now who can't fly, you didn't even notice me land."

"Only because by some fluke of luck you didn't crash on your face." Cupid poked him with a finger.

"Hey, you got apple sauce in my wings."

"You were acting like a brat." Cupid grinned, then stopped grinning.

"Where were we?" Erin took a step back. "I think I just caught you." Cupid's hand flinched, but Erin was already running.

Cupid took off after him.



Title: Growing Up 3: Down to Earth I
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None really
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid and Erin, being typically thirteen, sneak off to somewhere they really shouldn't be.

The little rat faced man spun in a circle, then waved a hand to the gates.
"Next, raised right here in Athens and in his prime at twenty six years old we have Euredes!" A giant of a man ducked under the doorway to the stadium, then straightened. The entire auditoriom screamed their allegiance.

Tall enough to happily bounce Ares on his knee and with more rippling muscles than a hydra he stretched and flexed, and with noises like a bucketful of heated popcorn, posed.

He was completely bald and when he strained his lips sunk into the gaps where his teeth should have been. A few small children ran crying to their mothers. He growled at the inner crowd, who appreciatively 'oohed' and stepped back.

"Euredes will attempt to succeed where Dracos failed, and gain a place in the final of the 'Known World's Strongest Man' competition in three weeks time." More appreciative noises from the crowd.

The Speaker made a wild gesture at the giant log resting between two carefully wrought notches. Then he raised his voice to a bellow as he strode round the stadium.
"Nine hundred pounds sits there, enough sheer weight to crush a man to powdered bone." A few people in the crowd gasped.
Up in the stands two robed figures were visible.
---
"If Dad catches us here we're dead" Erin flew in the face of danger by flipping his hood back.
"This is so cool, do you see that guy, do you see, man that's heavy." They weren't attracting any attention anyway. Aside from being slightly cleaner and not being surrounded by a perpetual cloud of flies they were less interesting than some of the stranger audience members.

"Calm down, Unc only shows at the final" Cupid tugged his hood further down, until Erin decided he was being a wimp and pulled it off.

"Erin!" Cupid looked around desperately, then played 'hunch up like a turtle and try not to attract attention.' Erin promptly stood up with a grin.

"Behold for we are Cupid and Erin all powerful Gods!"

Cupid yanked him down, spluttering in disbelief, someone threw peanuts at him.
"What the Tartarus are you doing!?" Panicked hands fisted in his trouser leg and shook the appendage madly.
"Cupid nobody cares, we rank right up there with that guy trying to eat his own shirt...why is he doing that by the way, is that a mortal thing?"

Cupid ignored him, whipped his head back and forth like some demented bird creature.
"Don't do things like that" Erin giggled and flipped Cupid's hood back up. A depressed mumble came from inside.
"There's no point now, everyone knows what I look like" Erin patted the hood.
"Cupe it's not like we have 'GOD' floating over our heads in giant flaming letters." Cupid mumbled something else under the hood and hunched further down in his seat.

"Seriously Cupid isn't this cool, we're surrounded by people." Cupid made a non-commited noise.

"Ok so they smell a bit and some of them are doing some really strange things but they're all mortal." Cupid huffed.

"We're not supposed to be down here, we're not even supposed to be thinking about being down here" Erin flopped back in his seat.

"Oh Zeus do you want to go back, is that it?"

Cupid scowled at him.

"Of course I want to go back, that's the whole point isn't it. We're going to be in so much trouble for actually being down here that being down here has to make up for it else there's absolutely no point." Erin blinked at him, cocked his head, then shook it.

"Ok" "Just promise to stop leaping around and stuff" Cupid tugged on Erin's elbow until he was forced to hunch in his seat.

"Ok, ok, look at me behaving, look at me being all still and inoffensive" Erin hunched lower, smiled. Cupid glared at him, though the corners of his mouth were flickering.

"Don't make an arse of yourself either." Erin poked him in the side, Euredes had finished posing and was plastering his hands in chalk.

"Showtime"

---

Cupid found it unlikely that the mortal would manage to lift it. The thing was huge and he was...well breakable. Erin leant forward in his seat. Euredes stomped up to the log with a grunt, cracked his knuckles. Erin was clapping actually clapping, what was up with that?

"He's not gonna do it." Erin glared at him.

"Oh stop being a weenie and cheer!" Cupid's forehead tried to fold in on itself.

"Why?"

"Cos that's the point" and Erin was grinning so hard his face could have split straight across.

"It's way too heavy" Erin groaned

"He's gonna try, that's why we're clapping."

Cupid sighed,

"Oh alright" he clapped, not incredibly enthusiastically but it was clapping. Let the scruffy mortal try and pick up the log, what did he care.

Euredes grasped the log, he strained, he grunted, spit flew in all directions. Erin was completely spellbound, it was weird and unnatural. The log shifted. Cupid's eyes widened, the log rose further. The crowds clapping rose to near deafening levels but Cupid could still hear Euredes teeth grinding.

"Cupid, Cupid" he grabbed the hand that was shaking him.

"I see it." He said quietly, the crowd was screaming and the oddest thing was Cupid could feel it.

"He's doing it, he's doing it" Erin was shaking him again and he didn't mind because he was grinning, but he had no idea why.

"I see, I see"

Euredes was now holding the log at his chest, face the colour of strawberries, cheeks puffing outward as he desperately tried to breath. The crowd screamed, even the rat faced man appeared to be holding his breath. Cupid couldn't breath either because something really weird was happening. He could hear the crowd in his head and his fingers felt all detached and strange.

It felt like he was about to be shoved over, but in a good way, and the smell was intense, he wanted to ask Erin where it was coming from. Erin was too busy gripping his arm like his life depended on it.

"Zeus, look at that!" Cupid looked.

Euredes wrenched the log high, legs locked, face almost purple, straining, teeth gritted. He screamed his victory out loud.

Cupid could barely focus, he just wanted to grin and grin and grin and...share?

What the hell.

The crowd went absolutely mad, they were on their feet, they were screaming, they were hugging and kissing each other and people were being carried over their heads to the screaming of over a thousand people.

Erin was hugging him and really weird things were happening inside his head.
"Man, look at the crowd, they love him, they totally love him!" Cupid grinned wide.
"I know" and then someone stole the light and he felt himself slumping, he couldn't have stopped it if he tried.



Title: Growing Up 4: Down to Earth II
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: Some unimportant mortals
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid wakes up and tries to work out what the hell happened. Then he decides to do a little wandering of his own.

Cupid cracked open an eye, it was very bright and Erin was peering at him from exactly one inch away. Then he was suddenly far away, gripping his shoulders and trying to haul him upright before his body would really have liked to.

"Oh thank Zeus, I've been shaking you for twenty minutes."

"Huh" there were bees in his head, he was sure of it.

"What the Tartarus were you trying to pull losing consciousness on me."

"Huh?" He felt seriously strange, and the bees were vibrating now, he couldn't think of anything to do apart from grin up at his cousin.

"Did you hit your head?" the bees were quieting down. He let Erin sit him up.

"Seriously did you hit your head on the way down." Cupid shook no. He tried to put his thoughts in some sort of order and Erin helped him to his feet, which felt fluffy.

"I was...the people were humming and then they were all warm and it was really nice, and I sort of exploded...well not literally but it was really nice and then suddenly I got washed away." Erin was blinking at him.

"I think we should go back now, and I think you should see Asclepius or something." Cupid shook his head again, which woke up the bees.

"I'm not sick, it was amazing, didn't you feel it?"

Erin scowled. "I felt a really fat guy step on my foot and some kid threw peanuts at me, that was it!" Cupid frowned.

"The crowd went completely weird though." Erin manoeuvred him over into a side street.

"I'm starting to think this was a really bad idea."

"I couldn't breath with them all buzzing at me" Cupid went on. Erin was looking at him with a very strange expression.

"They were just...amazing" he gestured with an arm.

"They liked it and then they liked it even more and I think I did that...only probably not because that would be weird. Something freakish happened though." Erin was looking really worried and that couldn't be a good thing.

"I feel like I could float away, oh the bees are back." Erin ran both hands through his excitable hair.

"Ok that's it, stay here, I'm gonna check it's clear and then we're leaving."

---

Cupid stopped listening, he was watching the alley, two people were bent close, a girl and a boy talking quietly, laughing. The boy leant in and whispered something into the girls ear, she went red and laughed, paused a fraction of a second, then nodded. The boy grinned, looped an arm around the girls waist and whisked her off laughing. Cupid held his breath because this was like the crowd only sharper, clearer and in colour. Every single part of Cupid's body said follow them, so he did.

---

Erin turned around. "Right now lets-" the alley next to him was empty. He frantically twisted his head around.

"Cupe!" no hood, no wings, no mortals dropping to their knees in awe, no sign.

"Shit!"

---

They shone in his head. Cupid couldn't think of any other way to put it. They were a purpose, it was like they had him on a little lead. They needed him, or he needed them, he couldn't decide which but it was fine with him either way. He felt like skipping, his fingers tapped against what was strapped to his waist and he didn't register it, he just followed the girls skirts as they swished round the corner.

---

Erin bumped into someone, tried to swerve away again and found he couldn't. Someone was actually holding onto him. He flicked his head sideways, then up. Someone big, who didn't look happy, someone mortal. Big head, bad teeth, hair, that was the extent of his experience in the matter.

"What's your name boy?" The dirty knuckles were an inch away from his face and he found himself scrutinising them. Wow, it was amazing mortals managed to get anywhere, look at how fragile they were. Uncle Ares said sometimes when you forgot and shook them real hard they broke completely.

Erin didn't move, just let the mortal glare at him. At the risk of breaking a mortal he didn't even know, he was sure they'd be guilt there, lots of guilt.

"Strife" he finally offered, that was his other name after all. The hand twisted until Erin's throat had a fabric disagreement moment.

"What kind of stupid name is that?" Erin didn't think it was a stupid name, he wasn't a big fan but when you're God of something it got a little respect. He shrugged, he figured there probably wasn't a right answer when someone looking like this was asking you something.

"It's mine"

The hand let go, his first thought was that this was probably a good thing. When he found himself sitting in a very muddy puddle he reasoned it wasn't.

Then he was being loomed over, which was more annoying than anything else. "Stay outta my space boy, or I'll crack open your pretty little head" Erin blinked, he really wanted to offer something very rude in reply. How breakable was this guy and how hard could he hit him before he broke. Then he felt absolutely horrible for thinking it. That was like stamping on rabbits or something wasn't it, definitely not a good thing to be thinking.

"I'm sorry" he said flatly, and he didn't know where that came from but the huge mortal was turning even as he glared so it had probably worked. He had the feeling he'd just broken some Godly rule or something but since no one knew he was pretty much keeping it to himself.

He got to his feet, testily shook his robe and carefully made his way through the rest of the crowd.

//Cupid, where the Tartarus are you// and screw that if he sounded petulant, he'd told him to stay still dammit. Blathering about bee's and exploding. No wonder they weren't supposed to be down here yet, it'd probably driven Cupid crazy and it was all his damn fault.

//I'm over here somewhere// Cupid didn't sound worried at all that they were separated by about a billion mortals. In fact he sounded happy and weirdly oblivious. More proof that he was currently wearing his brain inside out.

//What the Tartarus are you doing over there? Where's there?//

Erin turned around and tried to see over a particularly bulky mortal's head. He got a glare for his trouble, and a shoulder thudded against his own. Not wanting a repeat of a minute ago he sidestepped out of the way.

//Cupid! I can't see anything in this damn crowd// all he got across the link was happy reassurance.

//Stop it, everything's not fine dammit, where are you?// Cupid was laughing in his head, actually laughing. Screw this.

//Cupid I don't care if you're in the middle of a damn crowd, I'm coming to get you!// Erin sidestepped into the closest alley, frantically looked both ways, then vanished.

---

He reappeared in a very unpleasant side alley, next to his best friend, who immediately grabbed him and clapped a hand over his mouth.

"Sssh, you'll scare them away" and it was uncomfortable crouched like this with Cupid's right wing clapping him on the head. Erin carefully pulled the hand away.

"What are you doing?" and he'd tried to say that as quietly and calmly as he could but he had a feeling it hadn't come out that way at all.

Cupid was busy staring at the couple who were now joined at the face. Erin gave him a funny look.

"You wandered off to watch mortals kiss! What's the matter with you." Cupid pulled out of Erin's stranglehold.

"They're not just kissing, can't you see it?" Erin squinted, then he stopped squinting and rolled his eyes in Cupid's direction.

"You idiot!" Erin hit him. Cupid shot him a bewildered hurt look.

"You woke up your Godhood, no that's not all, you woke it up and shook it around!" Erin paced around in a small circle.

"What were you gonna do next, start shooting them with real arrows." Erin snatched the bow off of Cupid's belt and shoved it inside his own.

"We're gonna have to tell your Mom now." Cupid made a funny noise.

"Or Asclepius at least" Cupid stopped making the funny noise.

"Come on, we're leaving." Cupid looked back up the alley as Erin dragged him away.

"But the mortals!" Erin dragged harder

"They've managed just fine without you for the last million years, I think they'll be ok."

"But the colours." Erin shook his head.

"You can have a nice lie down with a wet towel over your face you'll be fine." Thank the Gods for Asclepius because quite frankly Erin didn't have a clue what to do now.

Then they vanished.



Title: Growing Up 5: Flowers in Shade
Author: Corona
Rating: R (Violence, very strong language)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None (not really)
Warning: Violence, sadism, lunacy and some bloodshed. (you've been warned, no reading it over breakfast)
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: We go to visit old friends. This is a little gift for everyone who wanted to see where the bride went! Hey I get to be amused once in a while to.

Aphrodite felt something odd, something very odd indeed. For a second she almost mistook it for lust, it had so many dark overtones. She stopped brushing her hair and closed her eyes.

A second later she reeled back on a confused disoriented noise.

Well that was unexpected

---

Discord opened her eyes, she lifted a hand to push hair out of her face and it snagged on something. She pulled but it wouldn't come free, what the Tartarus? She tried to sit, but her hair, ouch that fucking hurt. She tried a leg, then her hips. She couldn't move, she couldn't move at all, she blinked, felt around with her fingers, something pulled at her fingernail, there was something through her fingernail. It felt like string. She pulled at it and her hand bent.

It came to her in a moment of lunacy. She was sewn to the bed, stitched carefully by every piece of clothing and every part of her body that wasn't alive. 'You fucking bastard' she thrashed, yanked at an arm until she felt the stitching of her bodice pop. 'You fucking fruitcake' she pulled again, felt more stitching tear.
'I don't believe this, this is not happening'

She struggled harder until pain laced through her head, she felt hair rip from her scalp and didn't care, she wouldn't be sewn to anything like a fucking doll. Oh Tartarus she had to get out of this before she started screaming. She pulled the other side of her head, felt hair brush her jaw. She lunged upright snatching at lengths of thread and tearing them free.

She wrenched the stitching out of her skirt and boots, fell in a heap on the floor pulling thread from her clothes. Shaking and hating herself for it. Her head shot up until she could see through the barred windows, something tightened in her chest, relaxed when she saw the sun, still daylight, still bright.

"You fucking lunatic" she screamed at the empty room. Then she caught sight of her hair, hanging at her jaw. She opened her mouth, lifted her hands, felt her hair, her lips pulled back.

"Bastard, you bastard" she materialised a mirror and glared at her ragged new cut. 'You cut my hair! You cut my hair while I was asleep' Discord smashed the mirror, didn't care where the pieces fell. Pulled herself upright and concentrated until hair streamed back down her shoulders.

"What I can't even sleep now, sleep remember, do you even know what that is. No fucking messing with me while I'm asleep. It's the only fucking peace I get." Discord whirled.

Bia was the only God she'd ever met who could literally make your skin creep like it was alive, more even than Hades. A horrible urge to pull and twist until something broke.

He was standing like some odd collection of mismatched bones against the wall. Pale and corpse-like, not even pretending to be alive. Watching, he was always fucking watching, he could die standing up and no one would ever notice. Just looking, Discord hated being watched, hated being looked at. He did it to annoy her, purposefully, freak.

He stepped away from the wall, she forced herself to remain where she was. It was still daylight, he was just a twitching freak. He stepped into her personal space which rankled like something rotten. Far too tall, she fucking hated being looked down at.

A skeletal hand lifted, Discord slapped it away with a disgusted noise. Bia looked at his hand, then lifted it again. Discord slapped it away again.
"Don't touch me"

Bia's eye twitched, Discord held her breath. Then the face relaxed.

"I have a present for you" Discord swallowed hard, wanted to scream at him that she didn't want it, but she didn't know what that would do, didn't want to find out. Bia took his presents very seriously.

"Bully for you" though she didn't want a present, that was the last thing she wanted, she didn't want anything from him.

"You cut off my hair and stitched me to the fucking bed!" she snapped.
"How dare you, you little fuck!" he ignored her. Her fists were shaking at her sides. Her instincts were screaming at her to hit him, but her head was warning how very bad that would be.
"You think I'm some doll, you think you can play with me like a doll."

Bia reached a hand into his torn shirt and grasped the hilt of a dagger. Which was ridiculous because you couldn't put a sheath there. There was no room for a sheath there. The blade came free, slick and crimson out of his ribcage. Discord curled her lips up over her teeth.

"Oh Tartarus" she took a step back in disgust. Bia proffered the dagger with the oddest look on his face. Discord slapped it away and it clattered against the barren wall.

"You are one sick fuck" the head tilted, eyes drifting to the knife. Discord recognised it, it was just like the one she'd stabbed him with until her arm ached.

She still couldn't think about what he'd made for her after that without bile rising in her throat.

She cringed away from it. "I don't want it, put it back in your fucking chest where it came from." There was no way she would ever touch that knife again. Zeus only knew where it had been.

She yanked a boot off of the floor, was brought up solid by a hand wrapped round her elbow. She froze, teeth clenched resisting the urge to whirl and lay into him like her life depended on it.

The last time she'd done that he'd given her presents, bits of himself piece by piece, scattered around his temple like twisted confetti. Until even her stomach had rebelled and she'd had to either shut it all away or scream for a year. They'd all grown back, even his eyes.

"Bia let me go" he normally did, usually, reluctantly but he did and every time she was afraid he wouldn't and she'd have to watch because that was the worst of it. You couldn't watch anything he did, couldn't watch because imagining was bad enough and she didn't want to know how he did the things he did, didn't want to, wouldn't, couldn't. He was like a child, a twisted fucked up child who's mother needed some serious therapy.

His fingers tightened and then released in an odd confused way. There was another need there but he didn't know what it was, because no one had ever told him. Aphrodite wouldn't have come within fifty feet of him. He didn't even have the instinct of an animal. He didn't have a clue and Discord wanted to keep it that way.

'Just let me go, let me the fuck go, let go of my arm and I won't do anything I swear, just let me go.'

A second ticked by and she wondered how long it would be before she saw another tangled unrecognisable thing hung from the ceiling. Decorations for the only other person to exist in this miserable fucking place. Decorations for his wife.

Bia released her, seemed to forget she even existed, wandered away. Discord watched him go, then very carefully sank to the carpet, tucked her knees up under her chin and tried to remember how to deal with the choking sensation in the back of her throat.



Title: Growing Up 6: The Chariot
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13 (swearing)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Swearing
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: The boys ignore the words 'stay here and don't touch anything' and get into trouble, again.

Ares sighed into the air.
"Hermes is calling me?" His son didn't look happy, but then lately his son never looked happy. He didn't remember being this moody and sullen when he was thirteen, he was always too busy learning how to hack things to pieces and ride a chariot.

"You have to go now, you said you'd take us out in the chariot!" Cupid was trying his best to glare but it wasn't quite up to standard yet. Now Erin could glare with the best of them, but the hair helped, he was growing up to look like a proper little maniac.

He'd even manage to evade the comb that Aphrodite had enchanted to comb his hair at every available opportunity. Ares had suspicions that he'd fed it to the dog, and his son had probably been in on it. Still it was nigh on impossible to separate them now, and once Mischief worked how irascible he could become Zeus help them all.

Erin was currently flopped over a rock but Ares knew he could hear the conversation perfectly well over there. He appeared to be trying his best not to look moody and sullen.

"I'll be back as quickly as I can, don't touch anything and I mean it" Cupid rolled his eyes.
"What are we gonna do, steal stuff?" Ares ruffled his hair.
"Just stay put, ok?"
"Ok"
"You hear me Erin?"
"Yep, staying put" he called from his rock. Ares flashed away.

---

Cupid wandered round the front of Ares War chariot and peered at the horses.
"This one's glaring at me" he pointed out.
"It's a horse" Erin said flatly
"It's a War horse, they've never liked me. They go all snorty and bash me around.
"It's a horse" Erin protested from where he had slumped backwards over his rock, boots splayed out crookedly in the dirt.
"No seriously, they're not proper horses, they have some kind of quasi-sentience" Erin very slowly lifted his head, eyed Cupid, debated whether to go over and feel his forehead.

"That one especially hates me, the one with the white forelocks." Erin let his head fall back again with a sigh.
"You think everything hates you" Cupid pulled a face.
"Though they can go faster than anything alive" Erin smirked, raised an eyebrow.
"I suppose that's due to the quasi-sentience" Cupid glared at him.
"Oh stop being a wench"

Erin shook his head, dragged himself to his feet.
"So the horse hates you, stop staring at him" he wandered over, stopped beside Cupid.
"Which one?" Cupid pointed.
"It's not glaring at me." Cupid made a wounded noise.
"See, see, they hate me"
"Well you don't smell like Ares do you"
"I must smell a bit like him, I'm his son." Erin shook his head.
"No, you smell like a girl."
"I smell like a what?"

Cupid reached over to thwap Erin on the head but Erin whisked out of the way.
"Get back here." Cupid sidled round the chariot, bumped the horses haunches and met Erin round the back.

"I smell like a what?" Erin was laughing, Cupid stomped closer, Erin backed up, his heel thumped against the back of the chariot and he swayed, wobbled, righted himself then slid into the back of the chariot.

Cupid grabbed on instinct, then went down, one knee hitting metal the other clobbering Erin in the stomach. Something jolted.

"Shit, get off, get out." but Cupid was too busy trying to work out where to put his arms when a jolt sent him smashing down on Erin, heads banging together hard enough for him to swear colourfully.

"Get up, we're moving, get up." The words eventually speared through Cupid's brain and he pushed a leg backwards. It bounced off of gravel and he was flung forward again.

"Cupid!"

"M'trying" he grabbed the front beam and dragged himself to his knees. Which was just high enough for him to see the ground whizzing by at a sickening speed.

"We're moving, why are we moving, we're not supposed to be moving!" He was promptly shoved out of the way by Erin who, on witnessing the same view as him, jolted to an uneven stance and tried to grab the reins which were dangling over the front and in serious danger of getting tangled in a wheel and pitching them all straight to Hades. Erin leant over farther and Cupid lurched forward as far as he could and grabbed a hold of his belt.

"Get them, get them."
"I'm trying...ok got them" Cupid pulled, smacked his wing against the side when Erin flopped back and groaned loudly. They went over what felt like an entire river of rocks and Cupid was crushed against the back. Erin was somewhere on the floor, head banging against the metal front, swearing, reins clutched in a hand.

Cupid wobbled upwards, they were going faster, why the hell were they picking up speed.

"STOP!" he yelled, hoping desperately that that would help. Erin giggled at him from the floor.

"This isn't funny, they're speeding up, give me the damn reins." Erin appeared at his side like a jack in the box, fumbled the strips of leather across to Cupid.

Cupid yanked, yanked harder.

"They're not listening to me!" they hit another bump and it was only Erin's reflexive grab that knocked their heads together and stopped Cupid from being hurled out of the chariot.

"Ow, Zeus I'm gonna have bruises on my bruises." Though it didn't really matter because he was panicking too much to worry about a silly thing like bruises. Erin was clamouring past him and wrapping his own hands round the reins.

"There has to be a trick to this" Cupid snapped

"Yeah" Erin offered

"It's called being War, war horses, War right?" Cupid groaned his agreement and then fell down again and had to struggle upright past Erin's knees. Erin yanked hard, Cupid gave him an 'I've already tried that idiot' look, Erin dropped the reins in disgust and stumbled backwards.

"We have to be able to flash out of here" Erin raised and eyebrow.
"Flash out of a chariot that's doing a zillion miles an hour" Cupid braced himself for a bump then swore when all it accomplished was more bluntish pain.
"We're not going fast, we're standing still"
"Does the universe know that!" Erin waved a hand.
"Fly out"

Cupid ran a hand through a wing, then angrily proffered a handful of ragged feathers.

"I'm moulting, I'll be lucky if I get off the ground." A bump took the feathers away and scattered them behind them.

"Then there's only one option my friend" Erin slung an arm around his shoulders.
"No!" Cupid glanced behind them at the rubble strewn road.
"Absolutely no!" Erin rolled his eyes.
"Come on we're Gods, what are we gonna do die?" Cupid glared.
"No we'll just bounce across rocks and sticks and stones until we're in a hundred pieces and have to be glued together again. Well until I have to be glued together again anyway." Cupid shrugged the arm off.

"Zeus do you like pain or something?" Cupid watched in horror as Erin actually seemed to think about it.
"Forget it, we'll call Dad" Erin snatched Cupid's shoulders. They both smacked the side as the chariot went over a series of nasty bumps.
"Are you crazy, he'll kill us, he'll find a way and then he'll kill us, we stole his War Chariot!"
"We didn't steal it we fell in it"
"That is not a believable story!" Erin snapped, then banged his head on Cupid's shoulder a few times.
"Ow, Erin that hurts"

Erin stumbled over to the front and gave the reins another tug. The Chariot skewed right. Cupid thumped into his back and swore.
"What the Tartarus are you doing trying to puree us!"
"I made them turn, does that help?" Cupid wasn't sure that it did since the horse probably wouldn't take them off a cliff, how obedient were quasi-sentient war horses anyway. Oh his brain was hurting.
"No!" he decided, snatched the reins from Erin. He looked down, looked behind him.
"It's a chariot, there aren't any brakes!" Erin snapped.
"These things should come with a manual," Cupid flopped the reins, tugged again.
"Stop! Whoah! Cut it out!" Erin was laughing again.
"Like you're doing anything."
"I'm panicking!" Erin offered helpfully.
"You drive I'll panic." Cupid swore at him and went hunting about in the bottom of the chariot again.

---

"Oh Shit!" Erin screamed.
"Turn, turn, turn!" Cupid lurched upright and pulled instinctively, Erin lunged over his shoulder and added both hands to the hysterical movement. Cupid didn't help by screaming in his ear.

All he saw was a flash of bright gold, a horse that was brilliant white and definitely didn't belong to them and a very close up view of the back of Cupid's head, followed by angry red pain in his nose and mouth. He had enough sense left to shove Cupid down when the chariot started to flip.

The Chariot hit something, hard. He flew forward, squashed Cupid against the inside of the chariot until he made a horrible groaning noise, then slid up over his back, caught a wing painfully on his shoulder and then due to some odd law of physics he was somewhere completely different, sliding across gravel actually. He finally came to a painful and dizzy stop against the haunches of one very pissed off War horse that was struggling to regain it's feet.

"Holy...holy...holy shit, what the hell was that?" Erin crawled away from nostrils that looked partial to breathing fire at him and wobbled to a stand. He peered through a haze of red, felt the familiar feeling of several surprised parts of his face knitting together again.
"Cupid?" he turned around.

He thought vaguely about mugs, when they were thrown really hard against a wall, over and over. They got a sort of mottled dented look going on. The Chariot of War looked exactly like that.

"Cupid!" slightly more frantic than before. Cupe wasn't good at the whole getting bashed around thing. A disorientated groan floated out of a less dented part of the chariot. Erin scrambled over then hiked himself belly high over the top.
"Cupe?"

A very tiny voice floated up.

"Are we dead?" Erin leant over further until he could see Cupid hunched over the foot rest.

"Nope, you ok?" Cupid looked up, then groaned and put a hand to his head.
"Maybe" Erin smiled and shook his head, reached down a hand.
"Here" Cupid managed to dislodge his wings from their crumpled position in the corner, leaving a pile of panic-stricken feathers behind. He reached up and grabbed Erin's hand.

Erin hauled him carefully out of the chariot. Cupid all but fell to the ground. He sat there for a second and squinted at the horizon.

"You ok?"

"Probably" Cupid grabbed Erin's sleeve and pulled himself upright, then turned around.

That was when he went white and made a squeaky noise.
"Tell me that's not Dad's chariot!" Erin had to admit it did look like a angry titan had gone at it with a big hammer.

Title: Growing Up 7: You Did What
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13 (swearing)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: This part may smell just a little.
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 the Childhood series
Summary: After their escapade with the chariot Cupid and Erin have some new chores to do.

"Your chariot! What about my chariot, Heph's gonna have to work on it all day to get it back for tomorrow morning. Though thank Zeus for that or I'd have to crawl down to Asphodel like some spanked godling and ask Hades very nicely if I could borrow his!" Ares watched his brother pace.

"It's not like you need yours every damn day Ares, those bloody War horses of yours, they turn like bitches in heat, and those boys of yours are lucky to be in one piece. My chariot looked like a dragon had side-swiped it but yours looked like an old bucket when they finally stopped." Ares continued to watch Apollo pace.

"What in Tartarus were they thinking, were they completely mad!" Ares finally stood up.
"Have you finished?" his brother seemed to think about it for a minute.
"Yes I think so." he jerked down his shirt and folded his arms.
"It's your job to yell at them, I have enough children of my own to yell at"

"I've already made my opinion on the matter quite clear and I decided their punishment, your sister helped me there." Apollo raised an eyebrow.
"I'd like to know what they're doing I will admit." Ares grinned.
"Oh I think we'll both be satisfied."

---

'I'm gonna smell like shit for all eternity' Erin decided and dragged his shovel away from the window. Cupid was standing in the middle of the enormous barn giving practically everything in the room a look of absolute horror, shovel hanging against his leg like some amputated appendage. Erin shrugged at him then spun his shovel and uncovered another patch of floor.

"This ranks right at the top of 'worst days of my life'" Cupid offered.
"I'm in a barn full of Griffons shovelling shit. This is the worst punishment in the known world and it's official the world hates me. I almost get turned into love pate and now I'm here with friends who smell like they ate a bathful of skunks." Erin shook his head and dragged his shovel back to the window, hefted it and unloaded it. Then he plodded back to the stalls and gave the Griffons a dirty look.

"Oi, skanky hybrids, move already." One of them apparently couldn't decide whether to purr or peck him affectionately it settled for smashing a pig sized head into his back and laying him out flat on the floor. One of the bits he hadn't cleaned yet. Erin sighed and lifted his head.

"All eternity." He felt like giggling until his head fell off.

"The smelly one likes you" Cupid offered, the Godling of Love appeared to be trying to work out which part of the shovel went downwards.

"Oh who am I kidding they all smell, you smell, I smell. I never realised what an evil appendage the nose was, I'm gonna need a new one. Do you think we could turn them off or something, or get rid of them, though I'd probably look stupid with no nose" Cupid found a clean piece of arm and wiped it across a smear on his shoulder.

"Oh what's the point. I mean look at this, my wings are splattered, how disgusting is that. I have Griffon splatter on my wings. I'm going to smell, Dad hates me, he completely hates me and that's why he's left me here with a shovel and a pile of shit!"

"Uh huh," Erin prodded the affectionate hybrid with the business end of his own shovel. "Come on, move" "Mom wouldn't even come see me, she just had her hair done." Erin snorted and sent his shovel back along the floor. It was the one of the worst noises Cupid had ever heard in his entire life.

"I mean I can handle Dad being pissed at me and hating me, we wrecked his chariot, but Mom wouldn't even come see me and she definitely won't now. I'm ankle deep in griffon excrement." Erin could feel Cupid peering at the back of his head.
"Erin?"

"Cupe, just shovel so we can get outta here" Cupid frowned, slammed his shovel down and slid it through the pile he'd been standing on. Then proceeded to strain until his arms hung at his sides.

"Can't they get a mortal to do this or something!" Erin wandered past Cupid with another shovel.

"Artemis gave them the day off." Cupid watched Erin wander over to the window, occasionally slipping on a skiddy piece of floor.

"Are you pissed at me?" Erin glared over the back of his shoulder.

"No, why would I be pissed at you." Cupid raised an eyebrow, started to drag his loaded shovel over to the window.

"You look pissed, well maybe not pissed exactly, just not you, weird, quiet." Erin peered back over his shoulder, shrugged.

"I'm not pissed at you...just" Erin stopped and shook his head. Cupid prodded another piece of squelchy ground and stuck his shovel under it.

"Just?" Cupid prompted.

Erin started shovelling again.

"I didn't expect this." Cupid looked around.

"It is lovely isn't it, I suppose we deserved it even if it was an accident, we didn't stay still and we were messing about round the chariot."

"That's not what I meant" Erin said quietly. Cupid stopped moving, went very still.

"I expected, I dunno, something worse." Cupid stayed still, didn't move.

"I mean I know Uncle Ares is cool and everything but we screwed up and we got caught and this doesn't feel right." Erin stuck the shovel in the ground hard. Cupid was quiet for a minute.

"What were you expecting?" Erin wasn't looking at him, he'd started shovelling a stubborn piece of floor. Cupid saw his shoulders jerk in a shrug.

"I dunno" Cupid narrowed his eyes at him.

"If you were expecting my Dad to do something like..." Cupid stopped, pulled his boot across a piece of clean floor while Erin blinked at him.

"Dad wouldn't do that" he finished. Erin was still blinking at him.

He knew what Erin thought and he knew what he thought and he couldn't say either of them. They were choked right back in there with things they didn't talk about, but what was the point if they were still there. How did you start to talk about stuff like this, did you ask or was that a bad thing?

It wasn't like they'd promised not to talk about it, they just never had. Nobody talked about it much, sometimes Mom and Dad whispered when they thought he was asleep, and Pho brought it up because twisting the knife was in his nature.

Cupid didn't say anything though, mostly because he got the impression Erin missed her.

//I do you know, how screwed up is that// Cupid twisted his head round. Erin was leaning against the window, looking at him.

//You weren't supposed to hear that// Erin's mouth twitched.

//You were thinking hard//

Cupid didn't know what to say now, it was embarrassing when anyone caught you mentally dithering. Erin set the shovel down, sat on the windowsill. Cupid wandered over and leant against the wall.

//She taught me to read when I was three, and I got to read all her reports to her, she'd pace back and forth and snap things. Soldiers would come running in and running out and then she'd wave a hand and I'd carry on. I remember feeling really important. That was the only time she'd listen to the sound of my voice.// Erin's face was flat but he was grinning in his head, Cupid didn't think he could ever perfect that.

//And she never liked to be watched, she used to bitch that a room full of shiny weapons was like a room full of mirrors, she used to throw a big black sheet over all of them. My Mom hated herself so much.// Cupid went very still and watched Erin's face.

//She didn't hate me half as much as she hated herself// Erin twisted his hands carefully in his lap.

//You know what she did like though?// It took Cupid a minute to answer, his throat was getting confused.

//What?//

//Horses, she never had any of her own but she was jealous of everyone elses. I always wondered why.// Cupid couldn't imagine Discord liking anything.

//And she loved to be in charge. One of her best soldiers pushed me once, I was in the way and he pushed me. Mom did really bad things to him. She never said anything, about it though, not to me. She couldn't not hurt me but I think she did her best, she made sure no one else could.//

Erin looked up, rolled his eyes.

"Oh stop crying you weenie." Cupid scowled and sniffed

"I'm not a weenie, and you're crying too." Erin blinked, pulled a hand across his face, seemed surprised.

"Oh Zeus it's catching, I've been around you way too long. Cupid thumped him.

"Arse" Cupid stood up and tugged Erin to his feet.

Erin rolled his eyes.

"Zeus what is it with you and hugging" Cupid scowled

"Just humour me ok" Erin rolled his eyes again and shuffled into Cupid's squishy and not particularly fragrant embrace. There was a squelchy noise and Erin couldn't help but laugh. Cupid peered down at him.

"Why are you laughing?" Erin smirked upwards.

"I just covered you in shit"

---

Ares peered round the barn door.

His son was sitting in a pile of Griffon droppings with the most affronted look on his face. While Erin leant on his shovel and had hysterics. Both of them were an absolute mess.

"Erin I'm serious get it off me. I'm sinking here." Erin was pointing and trying very hard to stand up straight while a curious Griffon was nuzzling Cupid's left wing.
"This has to be illegal" Erin pointed out. Cupid flung an arm out and whacked the creature on the head.
"Get it off me!" Erin didn't appear to want to help any time soon.

"Erin!"

Finally Erin reached an arm out and hauled Cupid upright while the Griffon in question made disappointed mewling noises.

"I see you're having fun" both of them jumped a mile.
"Hi Dad"
"Hi Uncle Ares"
"Are you finished?" they eyed each other, then both nodded.
"Yes" Ares nodded.

"Good, then you're both forgiven until the next time you pull something that idiotic." He pulled something from behind his back. Both boys eyes went wide.
"You wouldn't!" Cupid shouted. Ares smiled,
"You don't think you're coming back to Olympus like that do you?"
"But luckily I'm feeling generous now." Ares grinned and turned on the hose.
"Let the running begin!"

Title: Growing Up 8: Specialist Subject 1: Combat.
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Fighting.
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 gotten a little better at his duties, but he still has a
lot to learn.


Erin wandered into the Halls of War and peered around. Not that he was
prepared if Phonos chose to throw something at him or jump him from behind
but you never knew.

The Podiums were permanently set up over the space in the centre, where Ares
best warriors were trained, not that they were here now. He could handle
Phonos laughing at him but put him in a room full of mortals and he might
actually die of embarrassment.

//Are you actually going to stand there all day//

Erin looked up, he could see Phonos perfectly well from fifty feet away. He
was tapping his foot, you wouldn't think Murder would be impatient.
"I'm coming" he yelled.

He disappeared and reappeared on the opposite podium. A razor thin eyebrow
was raised at him.
"Well don't look too excited." Erin scowled. The prospect of being
thoroughly squashed three times a week was gradually losing it's charm,
especially when his opponent appeared to be made entirely of rock and
elastic bands. He should be allowed to fight someone a bit more rubbish,
someone he could actually beat.

"My you're just filled with woe this morning" Phonos muttered. Erin scowled
at him.
"Ares is in paranoid mode" Phonos waved a hand and a lance appeared in it.
"If you can talk while you fight, then I'm listening." Erin braced himself,
as the lance swished through the air.

"I just don't see why he's so frantic" Erin ducked twice in quick succession
and swivelled a hand to catch the point of the lance. He snatched it out of
Phonos hands, twisted it and swung. Phonos caught it and shoved hard. Erin
let the point whistle past his ear and side flipped onto Phonos podium,
crouched and swung a leg. Phonos was already gone.

"Because you're his responsibility, he can't let you go gallivanting around
here and there." Erin slid a hand round the arm that would have attempted to
choke him and flung Phonos across to the other podium. Murder was letting
him warm up and he knew it, he was never this easy to grab a hold of.
"I'm fourteen" he snapped, flipping the lance up with a foot and attempting
to gut the always flexible God of Murder. Phonos swung a leg up and snapped
the lance effortlessly.

"Uh Huh, I was a hundred before I was even allowed a temple" Phonos flashed
a mace and swung it without hesitation at Erin's head. Erin ducked and
yelped, wasted a few seconds summoning a shield from the ether.
"Zeus" he exclaimed as the mace smashed into the metal and knocked him back
far enough to fly off of the edge.

Phonos settled his hand on a hip and waited for the angry cursing to die
down.

Erin reappeared on the podium looking ruffled, tugged his shirt straight.
"I don't want an entire temple, Gods what would I do with an entire temple."
he waved his hand and curled his fingers around the staff that had happily
appeared in mid-air, then he crouched. Phonos gestured with his hand almost
vaguely and something that looked like a long hammer appeared.
"You'd be surprised." Erin weaved out of the way of the first swing.

"It's like he thinks I'm gonna wander off and just decide to throw myself
into a volcano or something, or get eaten by some giant rock monster" Phonos
managed to shrug mid-swing and Erin felt the impact all through his body
when he shoved the staff up to block.

I still have my shoulders, he told himself, even though they feel like they
just cracked apart. He stared at Phonos and wondered whether he'd go easier
on him if he couldn't regenerate. Phonos smiled very briefly, probably not.

"You do have somewhat of a passion for dangerous pursuits." Phonos blinked
at him over the handle, then tugged the hammer back with a jerk, spun around
completely. Erin swore, leant too far sideways and fell off the edge.

"Dammit!" he reappeared a moment later, still holding his staff. He inhaled
quickly and crouched again. Phonos tossed the hammer over the edge and a
long silver dagger assuaged the loneliness in his hand.

"I'm a God it's not like I'm gonna accidentally die or anything." Erin
whipped backwards to avoid being accidentally gutted. Phonos gestured with
the knife briefly.

"Death and Destruction are two different things entirely, you should know
that well enough by now." Erin hiked an eyebrow and shrugged, swung the
staff, which Phonos helpfully cleaved in two.
"Pho! No fair pulverising my weapons" he pulled his dagger out of thin air
and held it carefully by his hip.

"So what does Cupid think of your fascination with the extreme." Phonos
didn't make any moves, just stood completely still and watched him
carefully.

"Well it's not like I let him do anything dangerous." Phonos shot forward,
Erin ducked quickly to avoid having his throat nicely opened.
"He might get hurt or something" Phonos made a short amused noise and
whipped an arm around Erin's throat, a knee jabbed him in the small of the
back, and he went down. His knees thudded, then slid on the podium, the
elbow that wasn't twisted behind his back went sideways, sent his face into
the wooden floor.

Then as if had been there all along something cold and shiny danced across
his throat. Phonos gave a little laugh which was way creepier than it should
have been.
"How very honourable." Then the weight lifted.
"Try harder"

Erin picked himself up off the floor, despondently plucked another sword
from the ether and glared at it. What did it matter, it would probably only
end up hurtling off the podium again. He bent slightly, Phonos just stayed
standing, he wasn't even bothering anymore to try and be impressive, how
embarrassing was this?

He swung, wasn't surprised when Phonos caught the blade of the sword and
shoved until he stumbled backwards.

Phonos tutted
"Come on Strife is that the best you can do?" Erin's eyes flickered, he
twisted his sword into a backhand grip and swung straight at Phonos
mid-section. The elder God weaved backwards out of the way. Erin swung
again, and again, then his front foot skidded off the edge of the podium and
he went down onto his back knee with a thud, sword flying out into empty
space.

Phonos tapped his foot and looked totally unruffled while Erin glared up at
him.
"What have I told you about anger?" Erin stopped glaring, stared into space.
Phonos sighed.
"Yes, now please try to gut me in a more tactical manner." Erin thumped his
head on the leather, he really hoped Cupid was having more fun.


Title: Growing Up 9: Specialist Subject 2: Archery.
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,
Summary: Erin isn't the only one who's improving.


Cupid settled his crossbow along his arm, sighted at the targets Artemis was
setting up and resisted the very immature urge to made 'pow' noises. He
didn't think Artemis would appreciate them anyway. This was taking forever,
why didn't Artemis just wave a hand and put them all upright, he had a
feeling she was keeping him stood here on purpose. Was he supposed to be
preparing or something, he couldn't remember?

Artemis was definitely giving him looks, he wasn't sure what kind of looks
they were but he probably should have been doing something. Or that he'd
forgotten something, that seemed more likely, he was always forgetting
something. He grinned at her sheepishly, which appeared to be enough.

"Load your bow Cupid, you're not shooting anything with thin air." 'Oh yeah,
that was it.' He reached down to his belt and whipped an arrow out of it,
slid it into the bow and lifted him arm. Artemis wasn't hiding behind
anything. Which he could appreciate as a gesture of confidence he may or may
not deserve.

Artemis waved her hand again and the mock town filled with people. Not real
people, Cupid had previously had a minor panic attack about loosing real
arrows into what appeared to be a crowd. Artemis had assured him that they
were only pretend people and they wouldn't mind in the slightest if he shot
one of them.

It still didn't help, they still looked like real people to him, but he was
working on it. The targets were different colours and his view was blocked
more often than it wasn't. This was going to suck and pretend people were
going to suffer.

"Ok, follow the rainbow" Artemis snapped. Cupid lifted his bow.

Red person was easy, they were down an alley which was completely clear save
for an awkward angle over a barrel. He hit the target in the gut and flicked
his bow down, slotted another arrow in.

Orange lady was harder, she was stood next to a pretend man, they were very
close together and people kept walking past. He pulled the trigger when a
gap appeared, the arrow thunked into Orange lady's shoulder, then promptly
fell out. Cupid hissed and shoved another arrow in, looked around wildly for
the yellow target.

There he was, on a bench, surrounded by pretend women, but the gap behind
him was free. He fired at the fountain and the arrow richoched out and
thudded into Yellow man's back. He reloaded, resisting the urge to give a
little cheer, ignoring Artemis, swearing when the arrow snagged, then
quickly lifting the bow and sighting.

"Blue, blue, blue, stop rushing" and he didn't care if Artemis heard him
mumbling. There she was, dammit, she was only just visible in an upper
window. He was doing really well and he wasn't going to mess this up now. He
aimed carefully.

The arrow thunked into the brickwork by her head.

"Shit" Cupid reloaded with shaky fingers. Then he lifted the bow again and
tried it once more. The arrow hit the target but in the eye, which was a no
go zone and even worse wobbled it a little way back from the window.
"Tartarus, you idiot" he fumbled another arrow into his bow.
"Come on" then he lifted and pulled the trigger, hard. The arrow thunked
dead centre into the blue target. He blew out an enormous breath, shoved
another arrow into the bow.

"Dammit" he flicked his head back and forth. The green man looked easy but
as soon as Cupid lifted his bow, the green target started to move back and
forth and he was really terrible when it came to moving targets. He took a
step to the left and tried to focus on where the target would end up next
time. Then he fired.

He got him but only just, the arrow canted out of the targets knee, wobbling
every time the target moved. He felt terrible now because he'd screwed up
three already, wasted two arrows and he didn't even want to look to see what
Artemis was doing. Probably writing lots of big red X's on a piece of
parchment. He knew he should stop panicking, it would only make him more
rubbish.

"Oh Zeus" Indigo was deep in the crowd and he could only catch a flicker of
purple blue head when the crowd parted. He reloaded and fired anyway. An
arrow ended up sticking out of a pretend person's chest.
"Sorry" he muttered, then realised that was gonna make him look even more
stupid.

He tried again and Indigo man wobbled when the arrow thunked into the back
of his neck. Cupid felt like he should be sweating so much he'd slip out of
his clothes. He shoved what would with any luck be his last arrow into the
bow and looked up.

'Oh Hades help me' the Lady Violet was impossible, he couldn't even see her
head, just flashes of her, she was in a group, surround on all sides, apart
from... Cupid dropped to the floor and very carefully aimed through the legs
of several bystanders. The first arrow went wide, embedded itself in the
thigh of a man who kept humming and going about him business.
"Ooops" Cupid reloaded, the second arrow ended up quivering in Lady Violet's
thigh.

That was it, he turned his head enough to look at Artemis. She was laughing
which had to be a good thing. She pulled her scroll open and started writing
something carefully onto it. He would have bet his wings it was a big X.

He let the bow sag in his fingers and then thumped his head gently against
the concrete and groaned.



Title: Growing Up 10: Princess
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: This part turned out sweeter than I thought it would.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: The return of the tiny hell beast! Or Persephone pays another
visit. I wonder if she's mellowed a bit.


"Pep, you gotta hold my hand!" The girl who, even five years later, was
still made almost entirely of hair folded her arms across her chest and
scowled up at Erin.
"Why, It's stupid!"
"Pep if you wander round Olympus without a tow rope you'll get trampled or
something, or shoved out of a window!" and he was getting really good at
talking through his teeth.
"Why couldn't I go with Mom! She had to go see Bacchus and I couldn't go
with her. She never lets me go see Uncle Bacchus!" Now the shoes were
scuffing across the marble and any minute now the kid was gonna kick
something.

Erin knew damn well why Bacchus was off the relative visiting list but
couldn't for the life of him work out how to explain that to a nine year old
girl.
"She never lets me go anywhere, she never lets me do anything." Erin
wondered if mind boggling embarrassment was a factor anywhere there.
"I hate her!"
"No you don't" Erin offered and reached down enough to grab Persephone's
hand. She growled and tugged, Erin dutifully held on. Persephone stopped
tugging and scowled into thin air.

"I'm bored!" Erin sighed through his nose.
"Cupid will be out in a minute" Persephone went very quiet. Then in a
completely different voice she said.
"Will he let me hold 'his' hand?" Erin fought the urge to burst into
uncontrollable laughter, he gave Persephone's hand a little squeeze instead
and grinned down at her.

"I'm sure he'd like that" Persephone smiled at him.
"Not that I care, but he does have wings and everything. Mom told me that
fairies have wings but they sound kinda stupid. I mean they're so tiny and
everything they could get stomped on. I wouldn't want to be a fairy, even a
fairy queen cos I'd be really mad if someone stomped on me." Erin peered at
the girl on the end of his arm and shook his head.

"When I grow up I'm gonna be a queen!" Erin pulled a face.
"Pep you're a Goddess you don't have to be a queen." Persephone scowled
"I want to be a queen as well!" Erin perfected his blank face.
"But not a fairy queen" Persephone shook her head.
"Uh uh, no one's stomping on me." Erin grinned, kids were weird.

Cupid's bedroom door flew open and he hurried out wearing only one boot.
"We waited for ages for you" Persephone pointed out and rolled her eyes.
Erin snorted,
"Yeah Cupe, we waited ages." Cupid scowled.
"I couldn't find-oh never mind"

"I'm holding your hand." Persephone pointed out, now that the pleasantries
were out of the way.
"Though just so I don't get stomped on!" Cupid blinked, Erin grinned at him.

"Ok" though he did look as if he was missing a joke of some sort. Persephone
released Erin and took the hand Cupid held out. She promptly squished it and
tugged it against her side. Erin had to laugh at the look Cupid was giving
her, but then he got exactly the same look in return.

"Are we going to see Hestia, she makes me sweets?"
"Maybe" Cupid offered.
"And Hecate, she made me a blue necklace which means birds like me." She
appeared hopeful after that statement. Erin made a few brief calculations.
"It's not a good time of the month to see Hecate." he offered.
"At least not for a few days."
"She's really pretty, and she promised I could have purple hair like her
when I was older." Cupid sniggered, Erin tried to look somewhere else.

"You could get purple hair too Cupid, Erin would look silly though."
"It's a bust on the purple hair" Erin muttered and Cupid whacked him.

"Are we gonna Flash away?"
"No we're gonna to walk."
"Awh nuts!" Cupid scowled down at her.
"Who taught you that?" Persephone grinned
"Erin" who was trying his best to look innocent.
"Why am I not surprised."

"Are we going now?" Cupid rolled his eyes and set off for the door. He
seemed surprised when Persephone followed faithfully at his heels. Erin just
grinned and followed them.

---

"Mom made me the Goddess of Flowers, or Spring or Fruit or something. I
wasn't really listening because it was boring. I wanted to be the Goddess of
birds I like birds." Persephone continued her little monologue, still
clinging to Cupid's hand, while Erin slouched along behind them.

"Are we going to see Ares later too?" Persephone was carefully eating the
ice cream that Cupid had given her to shut her up. It hadn't really worked,
just initiated a very long conversation about the merits of ice cream and
how she'd quite like to be the Goddess of it. Most of it was on her hand
which she occasionally wiped on her dress.
"I dunno, Dad's pretty busy." Or at least he would be busy as soon as Pep
appeared in the doorway looking sticky and adorable.

Persephone carefully straightened a scoop of strawberry ice cream with her
tongue.
"We could go see Aphrodite, she pretty and really pink. Mom doesn't let me
see her much though because she's a strumpet." Erin stopped dead, eyes
widening. Cupid squeezed Persephone's hand.

"Ow!" she said quietly.
"My mother is not a strumpet" Cupid said carefully. Persephone stopped
eating her ice cream and blinked up at him in silence.
"Ok" she said quietly, though her eyes started to look a bit blurry. Cupid
knew she was parroting and she probably didn't know what it meant but that
hurt. Persephone looked at her ice cream and she made such a sad picture
watching it melt.

Erin made very definite eye motions.

//What?//
//It's not her fault, she doesn't know what it means.//
//What do you want me to do?// Erin rolled his eyes, as if he was an idiot
if he couldn't work that out for himself. Which of course he wasn't. He
sighed and bent down, pushed Persephone's hair out of her strawberry
coloured mouth.
"I said something bad." Persephone offered, then considered her ice cream.
"Sorry" Now Cupid felt like the God of Being Mean which sucked. He ruffled
her hair, because his Mom did that. All it did was cover her ice cream in
fluffy brown hair but Persephone grinned and looked shy.

She seemed to get the picture that she was forgiven.

"So we're going where?" Cupid shrugged and leant down to take her hand
again.
"Well we could go see Hestia?" Persephone grinned
"Hestia's nice, she makes cakes properly, I've never seen that done before."
Erin flicked up an eyebrow.

"You don't get out much do you kid?" Persephone peered over her shoulder at
Erin, shrugged.
"Mom doesn't like me to go out, besides no one likes me much" Erin raised an
eyebrow, Cupid scowled at her.
"That's not true, we like you" Persephone looked surprised and not entirely
convinced.
"You do?"
"Sure we do" Cupid said.
"Why wouldn't we like you?" Pep seemed either unwilling or unable to give an
answer to that. She shrugged mutely, then raised her head cautiously.
"So I could come see you sometimes?" Cupid exchanged a look with Erin.

"Sure sometimes."
"Definitely sometimes."
"Though with less kicking." Erin put in, Persephone went red.
"I don't kick everything" she shoved the last piece of ice cream into her
mouth and chewed it with said mouth open.

"I have a hand free now" Persephone pointed out.
"You can hold it if you want Erin." she was looking shy again and it was
almost adorable. Cupid watched Erin slide his hands out of his pockets and
come closer. Persephone held her hand out.

Erin grabbed it, then cringed.
"Sure I get the sticky one!" Persephone giggled.
"Sorry" She glanced up between them, seemed smug for some unfathomable girl
reason.

She frowned at Erin for a moment, Cupid felt her tug on his friends hand.

"My Mom doesn't call you Erin" Cupid saw Erin's back stiffen, something near
his mouth twitched. Cupid could feel his hand closing round Persephone's
again, and there was no way the next thing out of her mouth could get better
"But I shall, because Erin's much nicer." Then again maybe it could. Erin
chuckled. Persephone danced along between them, smiling. She seemed to
consider something for a minute.

"Am I too old to be swung?" Cupid and Erin exchanged a look, and a shrug.



Title: Growing Up 11: Great Balls of Fire
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: More lessons for the boys, definitely cooler than most.


Erin decided it was roughly sixty feet, that had to be pretty good. He shot
a glance across the room to make sure Ares was still working and pulled the
elastic back again, quietly. Then he reached across the table and snagged a
grape out of the bowl. Settled it against the tiny piece of leather.

Then with another glance across to make sure Ares wasn't watching him
suspiciously, he let the elastic go. The grape of certain death arced across
to the window, smacked against the frame and bounced off, clanged against a
lamp and came to a squishy mortally wounded stop on Ares papers.

Erin froze. Ares eyes lifted and he considered the grape for a minute, then
he sighed and looked up.
"Is there something you can do that doesn't involve small missiles." Erin
set the catapult down.
"Sure Uncle Ares, I'll go be over here." He quietly got up and did his
'sneak away' walk.

"Wait!" Erin stopped. Ares was looking at the grape again.
"How old are you" Erin didn't bother to answer because Ares already knew
that and he was talking to himself anyway. He stood up, came around from
behind the desk.

"We're going out." Erin grinned, Ares time was always a plus.
"We are?" which had to be cool because Ares never seemed to do anything
boring, even watching him write stuff was fun. He drew lots of weapons in
the corners of his scrolls, ships and swords and men being horribly killed,
and little pointed metal things which could kill people from a long way
away.
"Cool, where are we going" Ares settled his hand on Erin's shoulder.

"We're going on a field trip" His laughter echoed as they flashed away and
he heard Erin muttering as they travelled between,
"Are we gonna be naming rocks because Athena already made me do that" Ares
chuckled in a scary 'you'll find out' way.

Then they appeared at a camp site, on earth. Somewhere he'd been before but
probably wasn't allowed to let on to.
"Are we on earth?" Ares nodded.
"Yes and if Aphrodite finds out what I'm about to do she may kill me."
Erin's eyebrows flicked up, now this sounded interesting.

Erin made a big show of looking around, not that it was worth it, he saw a
few rocks and lots of trees. He wondered whether he should pretend to be
impressed, probably.
"Wow" Ares was looking at him and grinning. Oh that definitely called for
being impressed.
"Well it's a lot bigger than it looks from Olympus."
"Trust me it's a hell of a lot bigger than that."

Erin made a noise of great surprise when Ares picked him up and set him on
the rock so he had a good vantage point.

"What do you see"
"Trees" Erin said faintly confused
"A rock, grass, clouds, bugs" Erin shrugged.

Ares grinned powered back and pulled a fireball out of the ether, he let it
go and it smashed into the nearest tree turning it into a smouldering pile
of ash. Erin's heart nearly stopped as he watched bits of tree float gently
back to earth and settle, he heard a very strange noise and realised he was
making it. Oh this couldn't be real, he hadn't done anything half cool
enough to deserve this.
"Blasty to smithereens lessons?" Ares...oh please Zeus please, I'll be good,
I'll be good...Ares nodded. Erin's grin grew until he was sure it would
swallow his entire face.

"Try it" As if he'd wait. Erin tried to imagine a big fireball in his hand a
rock appeared
"Well that sucked" Erin dropped the rock. Ares laughed, he started
explaining out matter and energy which was very quantum and Athena-ish but
he listened because if he needed this stuff to throw fireballs then dammit
he was gonna make an effort to understand it.

"So why can’t I just imagine the tree blowing up" he said with a brow
raised, Ares shrugged
"You can do it that way, it uses more energy because of the distance" Erin
nodded and tried again with his hand fireball, he could do a really small
one which fizzled rather quickly. That sucked, if he threw that at anyone
they'd just laugh and dance out of the way.

"Does this mean I’m impotent" he said with a frown, and to be honest he was
panicking a little now, what if he couldn't do it. What if he was a complete
and total failure and he couldn't do fireballs. That was like being a dog
with no tail to wag! Ares laughed again.

"Erin, you’re not thinking big" he moved forward and put a hand to Erin's
head, this time he saw Ares conjuring the fireball in his hand, and Whoah
how easy did Ares make that look and it felt hot, really hot. He really
hoped it wasn't going to burn through the skin of his hand.

Erin shrugged and tried it that way, the fireball grew and grew and he found
himself watching it until it was the size of a giant watermelon. 'Oh My
Gods, I made that, and look how big it's getting!'
“You should probably throw it now” Ares warned, Erin threw it.

The tree in front of him was ripped in two, the tree behind it uprooted and
thrown across the field, the tree behind that burst into smoking ash. Erin
gaped, stared at the smoking remains, then peered at his hand and gaped some
more.
"Did I do that?" Ares nodded.
"I did that?" another nod
"Did you see?" Another very amused nod. Then Ares stepped forward at exactly
the same moment that Erin's legs collapsed under him.

Erin focused on Ares chest and tried to make his body work again, which it
stubbornly refused to do.
"I think you over did it just a little." Erin gurgled agreement.
"It’ll come back in a minute" Ares said.

---

Cutting things sucked, especially Ambrosia because you just got the urge to
eat it all the time. Occasionally the knife got stuck and came out all
gloopy, but his Mom was watching him and since this was going into one of
her potions it was probably not a good idea to lick the knife. He wasn't
sure what spit would do to a love potion, though thinking about it he was
almost tempted to try it.

"Are you finished Hon?" probably, who cared, hell yes!
"Yeah" His Mom scooped everything into the big bowl and grinned over it.
"Nothing but a pink fairy eh, I'll give Athena something to whine about."
His Mom looked disturbingly insane bent over her bowl in her pink chiffon
cape, laughing.

That was when something hit him in the head.
"Ow" it landed next to his hand, rolled around on the table then fell off.
It looked like a grape.
//Oi, what are you deaf!// Cupid peered over his shoulder. All he could see
outside the window were mini spikes of black hair and a flash of white
forehead.

//Ditch Potion lessons, I have something truly awesome to show you.// Cupid
sneaked a glance at his mother, who was mumbling and throwing things into
the bowl. She wasn't looking at him. Truly awesome definitely sounded too
good to miss.

He started to edge backwards towards the window, His Mom either didn't see
him or chose to ignore him. Very carefully he vaulted the window sill and
landed next to Erin.

"Ok this better be awesome." Erin grinned, grabbed Cupid and flashed them
into the main gardens.

He dragged Cupid a little way from the path and opened a hand. Cupid
watched in complete awe as a fireball formed, then flew across the gardens
and exploded an entire row of roses.

"Holy Shit!" Cupid offered and that was about all he could say. That was all
he could think as well.
"You bastard!" well maybe not all.
"Too true!" Erin muttered, then giggled.
"Your Dad is amazing did I tell you that already."
"He taught you fireballs, how come I didn't get taught fireballs first,
that's so unfair." It truly was, he'd spent the afternoon stirring stuff
while Erin got to strut about and blow stuff up!

"Oh calm down, why d'ya think I'm here, hold out your hand" Cupid blinked,
stuck his hand out without question. If he was a dog he'd be sat up and
begging with his tail wagging. He'd probably do anything Erin told him to do
within the next few minutes if the end result looked anything like that.

Not that the Gods would ever let him do anything this cool. Erin laid a cold
hand against his forehead.
"Right now Ares isn't stupid so he told me to tell you not to tell your Mom
what I'm gonna teach you ok." Cupid nodded. Erin grinned and concentrated.
//Right now do this.//

Cupid concentrated too, Erin was a bit miffed that he didn't get a rock
first time. Though he had to snigger when Cupid's first attempt turned out
to be a pink fizzle which exploded three inches above his hand.

Erin sniggered when Cupid sucked his fingers and glared at him.
"Think bigger, come on you got your Godhood, you got more power than me."
Cupid concentrated harder.

Six seconds later the garden wall exploded.

"Holy Shit!" Cupid offered again.
"I blew up a wall, I didn't think I'd ever get to do anything cool." Erin
seemed to be waiting for something. Cupid blinked, then slithered into
Erin's open arms.

"Yep, you got it!"



Title: Growing Up 12: Asphodel
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13?
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Dead people within and bad language.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: The boys are fifteen and Aphrodite has reluctantly given visiting
dead people privileges to Cupid. So it's back to the Underworld.



"Well this is just riveting" Cupid offered as grey gave way to even more
grey.
A long hollow moan drifted through the Underworld.
Cupid stopped dead at the end of the stone staircase.
"What was that!?" Erin continued across the flat grey expanse.
"Dead people complaining, don't worry about it."

"Don't worry about it he says, I'm being moaned at by a zillion dead people,
don't worry about it he says." Erin shook his head.
"You're the one that wanted to come see the Underworld."
"You never told me dead people were an option." Erin turned his head back to
him and scowled.

"We're in Asphodel of course dead people are an option. They can't hurt you
don't worry about it, if they come and bug you just shove them out of the
way." Cupid made creeped out noises.
"Great now you want me to touch dead people." Erin shook his head.

"No I want you to get in the boat"
"What boat-Oh that boat."

The boat in question looked like it had been made out of the ribcage of a
dragon, you could still almost see where the insides had gone. It curved up
at both ends like if you got in it might just close up and eat you.

"That's one creepy arse boat" Cupid decided. Erin snagged a torch off of the
wall and hopped into it like he did it all the time. It didn't seem to want
to eat him so Cupid, with much trepidation, stepped in after him.

"Charon usually rows but he's way to busy to ferry me across and he gets
really testy if you don't give him any money. He lets me use the spare."
Cupid very carefully sat down opposite him.
"There's a spare, what for in case the other one sinks!" Erin shrugged.
"Hades likes to be prepared-" Erin paused and dropped his voice a notch.
"For every eventuality" Cupid laughed at him. Erin stuck the torch in a hole
on one end of what looked like a jaw.

Cupid peered over the edge at the navy water, there were things under the
surface, he was sure of it.
"So what happens if I fall in?" Erin chuckled.
"You turn grey and sort of dead looking for a while, at least I did anyway."
"You fell in the Styx?" Erin nodded.
"I was being chased by Cerberus and I wasn't looking where I was going."
Cupid laughed at him.
"That wasn't the scary part, you should've seen who pulled me out." Cupid
raised an eyebrow. Erin sighed

"I was four and I thought I was going to drown, next thing I know some one
grabs me. You know what it's like when you're a kid and you're scared, you
hang on really tight." Cupid nodded. Erin pulled a hand through his hair.
"Well it was Thanatos and I don't think he's ever been screamed at that
loudly since." Cupid's eyes were wide and he was unconsciously leaning over.
"Thanatos, actual Thanatos" Erin nodded.
"I spent the next hour hiding behind Hades" Cupid laughed at him.
"I was four" Erin protested.

"How come you know this place so well anyway?" Erin flopped over the edge of
the boat.
"Mom liked to come down here and torment people she'd killed, yell at people
who hadn't meant to die, generally scare the crap out of everyone. Until
Hades told her to stop it." Cupid peered around, he wasn't really
comfortable talking about Eris killing people.

Then again he wasn't comfortable with the prospect of meeting Hades either.
He was known for not particularly liking impromptu guests. In fact he was
only doing it because Erin had wanted him to come meet him.
"What if he doesn't like me?" Erin leant back and rolled his eyes.
"He'll like you."
"But what if he doesn't?" Erin sighed.
"He will, he asks about you." Cupid's head rotated, Erin scowled.
"Not in a creepy way, he's king of the dead people not an actual dead
person." Cupid knew he still looked unnerved.
"He asks about what we do, you're kind of involved there." Erin started
picking under his fingernails. Cupid wasn't stupid, Erin was nervous too.

"Shouldn't we be rowing?" Erin shook his head.
"Nah, the Styx knows where we want to go." Cupid had a brief confused
moment.

"The Styx...is it alive, is the Styx alive." Erin frowned, then shrugged.
"No, it's just really old and it knows where we want to go, I can't explain
it better than that." Erin got a really strange expression then.

"Put your hand in." Cupid frowned at him suspiciously.
"Why" Erin laughed.
"Just put your hand in." Cupid very slowly slid his hand in the water. It
felt like water, a bit thinner maybe but still water.

Something brushed his hand, he jerked it back with a splash. Erin was
laughing at him.
"Erin what the hell was that, it felt like hair!" Erin nodded.
"Dead mermaids." Cupid screwed his face up.
"You made me touch a dead person, that's gross."
"Dead mermaids are different, they don't go so grey, they just get shiny and
more fishy.

Erin stood up and the boat wobbled. Cupid grabbed the side, he was
definitely not going to fall in the water if there were dead people in it.
"They can't hurt you" Erin said quietly.
"And most of them don't want to, they're just sad and dead."
"Yeah well it's the dead part I'm worried about."
"Oh don't be such a Necrophobe!" Erin stepped out of the boat, then
stretched a hand out. Cupid took it and carefully stepped out onto the bank.

---

Erin wandered into the dining room, Cupid gave him a funny look and then
wandered in after him, though he didn't look too happy about skulking round
Hades palace. He even looked like he was skulking. It wasn't as grey in
here, in fact Erin thought it was seriously neat, all purple and black and
red, serious colours.

Erin flopped down on the head chair and Cupid gave him a pointed look.
"Calm down, sometimes Hades is so busy he doesn't even notice I'm here."
Erin laughed at a memory and decided to share.

"One time he came in here and I'd got bored, I'd been playing with Cerberus,
hiding behind the curtains and letting him sniff me out. Well everyone had
pretty much lost track of me. Mom had misplaced me see." Erin raised an
eyebrow in Cupid's direction.

Cupid carefully slid into another one of the chairs. He knew damn well that
Eris had misplaced him a lot, mostly on the hope he'd get lost in Tartarus.
"So I fell asleep on the throne." Cupid could imagine him doing that.
"Can you guess what happened?" Cupid took a stab.
"He came down in the morning and sat on you." Erin nodded.
"Uh huh"
"I scared the shit out of him."

---

"Erin language." Cupid yelped and tried to turn around on his chair. Hades
had swept in from the back of the room and was standing behind Cupid's
chair. Cupid clutched the arm rests, ok so he'd very briefly seen Hades
before but he'd been tiny and mostly he'd hidden behind his dad. He didn't
seem any smaller, weren't people supposed to seem smaller when you grew up?
Though thank Zeus he didn't look like an emaciated corpselike fiend from the
lower realms of Tartarus. He was sort of pale and maybe a tiny bit grey but
he wasn't gross at all. He looked normal, without the grey and the black he
could be up on Olympus in a room somewhere and Cupid would walk straight
past him...well maybe not straight past him.

"He moves really quietly" Erin offered, tilting his chair back and snatching
Cupid out of his brief moment of shock.
"I keep sneakily trying to learn it off of him." Hades raised an eyebrow at
him.
"Hi Uncle Hades." Hades mouth turned up just a little.
"Erin." Then the head tilted towards Cupid.
"And you could be no one but Cupid." Cupid shrank back until his chair
creaked just a little.
"Hello."

Ok so maybe he was just a tiny bit scary.
"See I told you he wasn't scary and corpselike at all." Cupid gave Erin a
look that was almost painful. 'Ok big hole in the ground, this would be a
really good moment for swallowing, yep right about now.' Hades smiled at
him, which did nothing but make him go very red, or perhaps white. He didn't
know because he couldn't see his cheeks.

Hades was apparently going to let him off the hook though. He wandered round
to the head of the table and nudged Erin pointedly with a boot until he
shifted one chair over, smiling all the way which made it quite clear Hades
probably wasn't pissed at him.

Cupid really wished Erin was sitting a little closer than the other side of
the damn table. He didn't have a clue what to say, or if he was supposed to
ay anything. Or if he was supposed to move and his mind was panicking and
getting really hyperactive.

He'd known Erin knew Hades really well but he'd still figured bowing would
be involved on some level. Certainly no nicking of chairs and Cupid baiting.
Hades sat down, robes swishing making him look so important that Cupid
suddenly felt silly sitting in his chair wearing no shirt. Not that he could
wear a shirt, and he certainly wasn't going to parade around in the harness
that went with his bow. It made him look silly and disturbingly
pornographic. Though sitting in front of the God of the Underworld and all
it's dead people and thinking the word pornographic seemed wrong as well.

Cupid frowned, no putting 'pornographic' and 'dead people' in the same
thought was way more wrong, there wasn't enough wrong for that.

"Tartarus to Cupid!"

Cupid jumped. Erin raised an eyebrow pointedly.
"Umm sorry what?" Erin tilted his head in Hades direction. 'Oh no' Hades had
been speaking to him and he'd missed him. He'd been so obsessed with not
looking rude and stupid looking that he'd made himself look...well rude and
stupid looking.

Hades was almost smiling but Cupid didn't know him well enough to be sure
whether that was a good thing or not. Dad grinned all the time but not
always when he was about to do something nice. Cupid cleared his throat.
"I'm sorry"
"I asked how your studies were going." Cupid cleared his throat again, had a
vivid mental image of not being able to stop doing it.

"Umm they're good, ah Mom's teaching me potions and maybe I'll have arrows
for my bow soon, that's my er thing." Hades nodded.
"Ah yes" Cupid shot Erin a frantic glance, Erin nodded, which he figured
meant everything was ok and he wasn't destined for anywhere spiky.

"Congratulations on your Godhood" Cupid shifted.
"Umm thanks, it's nice, thank you." Erin was sniggering and that was so
unfair. Cupid had taken him to meet practically everyone and he'd never
sniggered at him once.

"Erin" Hades warned, Cupid wasn't sure what he was warning but he was
surprised when Erin stopped sniggering and mouthed 'sorry.' Ok that was it,
Cupid was just going to sit here and not say anything.

---

"You didn't?" Erin smiled and watched Cupid lean over the table, shove the
fruit bowl out of the way. Hades leant back in his chair.
"Your father has some virtues but I'm afraid patience was never one of
them."
"You really left him floating in the middle of the Styx." Cupid seemed to
find this hilarious, Erin couldn't blame him. Hades nodded.
"He was a lot younger than he is now, Cerberus used to tease him
mercilessly, so I simply instructed him not to let your father off of the
boat until he learnt some manners."

Cupid slapped the table in front of Erin.
"You have to show me Cerberus." Hades stood.
"Yes, by all means take Cupid on a tour. Though try to stay out of Tartarus.
I suspect Aphrodite would not be happy to learn her son had been wandering
in there. I however have work that I must attend to."


Hades stood up, collected his cape around him.
"It was nice to meet you Cupid, and Erin please refrain from unchaining the
dead people. Charon does so hate to go around tying them all back up again."
Then Hades did the thing where he vanished around his cape. Erin had seen it
but Cupid was being suitably impressed.

"He's cool" Erin snorted and rolled his eyes.
"Come on then we have an appointment with a three headed dog." Cupid slid
out from the table and jogged after him.
"Can we get into Elysium?" Erin shrugged
"Sure, the kids there they like hide and seek." Erin peered over at him.
"But they're still dead." Cupid pulled a face.
"I know that"

Cupid peered back to where Hades had vanished.
"Erin?"
"Hmm
"Umm?" Erin raised an eyebrow.
"Umm" Cupid shuffled around for a minute.

"Is Hades your...?" Erin blinked, thought about it for a minute, finally he
shrugged.
"Damned if I know" Cupid sighed.
"Cos that would be kinda cool." Erin scowled at him.

"You just want free rein with the dead people."
"Ew" Cupid hit him.



Title: Growing Up 13: Misery I
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15 (just to be careful)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/m I guess
Warning: Hints of non-con stuff, violence (Oh stop panicking)
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid meets someone new...



Cupid looked at the scroll his mother had given him. He was supposed to
leave it for Poseidon, or one of his children at least, well make sure it
got to him anyway. It was the kind of job even he couldn't screw up, or
forget about.

The place was empty, though it was a beautiful room empty or not. An
enormous blue dome curling with watery creepers, the mantles and pelmets
sparkling with things that you just didn't find anywhere but under the sea.
Water reflected on the ceiling even though the marble he stood on was dry.

It was a room you could look up and spin around in and be certain you were
underwater. He'd done it with Erin when they were little, it was funny the
way you stopped doing stuff like that when you grew up, and maybe a bit sad.
Like running through sprinklers completely naked, or teasing the peacocks
and getting chased or digging a big hole that you needed a ladder, or wings,
to get out of just because you felt like it.

They should do stuff like that more often, just because they were grown up
didn't mean they couldn't do stuff like that. Mom still did stuff like that
sometimes, and Dad was always game, Hebe was famous for it. Besides there
was no one better at making up insane stuff to do than Erin.

"Hi" Cupid jumped, aware he'd been caught staring at the ceiling and
grinning. He swivelled his head until he could see behind him. A blonde man
had come in and was standing on the steps. He searched around his head for a
name.

"Triton" a pale eyebrow went up.
"Wow I figured you wouldn't know me." Cupid shrugged offered a smile. Triton
wasn't very old either, forty or fifty. A long finger flicked in his
direction.
"I know for a fact you're Cupid." Cupid smiled, it was the wings, everyone
knew his name, sometimes it sucked.
"Yeah." Triton bounded down the stairs, slithered to a stop a few feet from
him.

"Well what brings you to the watery realm?" Cupid lifted the scroll, waved
it haphazardly, then gave a smile of apology when Triton ducked and
chuckled.
"I gotta give this to Poseidon, or at least give it to someone else who'll
give it to Poseidon, because my Mom trusts me with the really important
stuff." Triton raised an amused eyebrow.
"Well I think I'm trustworthy enough to sling it Dad's way." Cupid figured
that would be perfect, job technically done and he hadn't screwed it up at
all.

"Would you?" Triton shrugged.
"Sure, we're family." the eyebrows twisted.
"Well third cousins six times removed or something." Triton waved a hand
dismissively.
"Tartarus it's way too confusing." Cupid laughed.
"I don't even go there." Cupid shuffled.
"Well I better-"
"Awh don't go." Triton flapped a hand towards the couch.
"Sit down, catch up on all that's wet and drippy."

Triton looked so pleading, Cupid shrugged, flopped down on the big blue
couch.
"You hang around with Eris kid right, what's his name..." Triton clicked his
fingers.
"Erin" Cupid supplied. Triton laughed.
"Yeah that's it, skinny kid, pale" Cupid nodded.
"I saw you on your boat, course it would make more sense if the thing
actually sailed on the sea, that's what they're for y'know." Triton flopped
down beside him.

Cupid was all for meeting new people, and Triton seemed ok. He shuffled over
a bit to make room.

"Do you know how seriously cool these are." Triton ran a hand through his
wing, which startled Cupid but people did that the first time they met him
so he didn't pull away.
"They certainly get me noticed." Though he knew he didn't sound too happy
about it. Triton did it again, then pulled his hand away on a chuckle. Cupid
stretched his wings out, then folded them. Triton watched with a big grin on
his face.
"I'm totally jealous."

People that knew him mostly treated his wings as an extra pair of arms which
flapped. People who didn't got the urge to pet, stroke, generally play with.
It had been ok when he was ten but he'd swear it got creepier.

"I mean sure I can do the whole fish thing." Triton's face fell.
"Marginally less cool." Cupid laughed, he couldn't help it, picturing Triton
in all his fishy glory was sort of amusing.

"So what's your angle?" Cupid wondered very briefly if that was a pun,
decided probably not.
"Umm Love, think that's where I got the wings from, and Passion I guess."
Triton's mouth stretched into an odd little smile.
"Serious?" Cupid nodded.
"Uh huh, Dad wanted me but I guess Mom got me." Triton was still smiling in
that funny way.

"I should've known." He muttered. Cupid frowned, then laughed.
"Why?" Triton was still looking at him. Finally he lifted a hand and ruffled
Cupid's hair.
"Well you got the fluffy blonde hair and the wings and the burden of being
generally mouth watering." Cupid pulled a face.
"You're taking the piss." Triton shook his head.
"No seriously, you're like a guy version of your Mom." Cupid frowned, he
didn't know whether that was a compliment or not.
"Er thanks, I think."

"So what are you doing today?" Cupid shook his head.
"Umm, well I have to rewrite some of Mom's scrolls, since Erin spilled
something toxic on the master copies. I have to go see Heph sometime later
and pick up the little prototype for Dad's catapult. Heph gets really
annoyed because the suspension's hard when you reduce the size."

Triton laughed.
"No I meant anything fun." Cupid blinked, then rolled his eyes.
"Sorry, umm well I was gonna practice at the archery targets later, Erin
prefers to blow them up and if Pep comes they'll all end up covered in ice
cream or sherbet or something." Triton was laughing again.

"I don't know why you pretending to be all regular and smart, I don't mind
y'know. I mean it's not like you're gonna need it. You're the God of Love,
you just have to look pretty and have sex a lot. How much brain power does
that really need."

Cupid blinked, his wings dropped down his back and lay there motionless.

"What?" Triton shrugged.
"Well if you go around pretending you're smart and everything I just don't
see why, no one's gonna care, I don't know why you waste your time trying."
Cupid frowned.

"Mom says I'm pretty smart" he offered quietly, he didn't know what was
going on and he didn't know whether Triton was being mean or not, but
something cold was creeping up the back of his neck.

"Sure she would she's your Mom, my Mom thinks I'm the smartest God in the
whole world." Triton snorted while Cupid frowned harder.
"My Dad-" Triton snorted and waved a hand.
"It's the same thing, sure if you were a God and stupid that would really
suck. Especially where you're concerned right?"

Triton slung an arm round his shoulders, Cupid eyed it cautiously. The cold
feeling had spread to his entire back and it was prickling now. His Godhood
appeared to be pissed, which was really confusing. Something thrummed
through his head, something which could only be instinct. It was telling him
this was very bad and he should leave now. In fact it was telling him so
loudly that he missed what happened next.

Triton grabbed his head in both hands and pulled it to the side. Cupid had
just enough time to stiffen before he was kissed. He made a noise which was
part shock, part panic and tried to pull his head backwards. Triton didn't
intend to let him go, in fact he was trying to get his mouth open, which
wasn't nice at all. Cupid tried to pull sideways and that was when the hands
at his head started to hurt, a lot.

He was bowed backwards into the couch, and Tritons body was pressed flush up
against his. It was impossible to cringe away from him because Cupid tried.
Tartarus this was horrible. There was a screeching in his head and it was
getting louder and he didn't like it. He shoved hard against the chest that
was gradually crushing his own, but he wasn't as old as Triton and he didn't
have the strength yet, it was like trying to push a wall.

Then Triton did get him mouth open and Cupid was done panicking, he reacted
and clamped his teeth down on Tritons tongue.

The sea God jerked backwards on a hiss and Cupid scrambled away until he
fell off the end of the couch, wings cracking the floor painfully. He lay
there in shock for a minute, fighting the urge to wipe his hand across his
mouth, feeling like he was crawling with ants. Triton appeared over the end
of the couch, he was grinning.

"Well that was unexpected, not that I mind a little rough stuff!" Cupid
could only stare, because all the smart parts of his head had shut down. He
just felt horrible, and frightened. He started slithering backwards across
the floor.

"You'll have to get used to it though you know, it's what you were born for
after all. This is your lot kid, someone says 'fuck' and you jump." Cupid
had stopped slithering. All the blood was draining out of his face and he
had no idea where it was going. It could have been falling into a hole in
the ground for all he knew.

"That's not true." Triton laughed and it wasn't a nice laugh.
"Wanna bet, ask your Mom, you're the God of Love and Passion, what the
Tartarus did you think you'd be doing for the next thousand years. Trust me
kid you're gonna spend the next millennia on your back, one more's not gonna
hurt." Cupid's throat felt like it had just dropped through his chest like a
rock.

"What?" he was having trouble following this conversation.
"Awh come on, like you haven't been flirting with me since I walked in."
Triton leant over the arm of the couch and grinned at him. Cupid shook his
head.
"That's not true!" It wasn't, Cupid would definitely have noticed, and even
if he had been, that hurt damn it. You didn't just grab people and...do
stuff to them.
"Kid, Gods who look like you put out, it's in your job description."

Cupid yelped when Triton grabbed his ankle, dragging him back towards the
sofa and not caring when his head banged the chair leg. Cupid was still in
shock, but not so much that when a hand slid round his wrist and tried to
tug him back on the couch he couldn't react like any son of War, he kicked
Triton in the face.

He didn't seem to do much apart from make Triton mad, he wasn't even
bleeding.
"What is it with you, do you want to play like that?" He had that grin
again.
"Don't touch me." Cupid didn't even have time to brace, something flashed
over the edge of the couch and the entire left side of his face felt like it
had just exploded.

Cupid made a loud noise of utter shock, his cheekbone felt like it was going
to fall out and he couldn't see anything out of that eye and his jaw was
making a horrible creaking noise and this was surrounded by a wave of purple
pain which made him dizzy. He couldn't work out what had just happened
because it was all happening too fast to follow.

"Come on, like you've never done this before, what I'm not good enough for
you, I'm hurt really I am, but serious I won't tell anyone, and you can go
back to whatever it was you were doing. Busy, busy little love bee."

The fingers reached down and snatched his wrist again, and he was panicking
all over because he didn't know what to do, he wasn't supposed to learn how
to fight at all. What would Erin do, 'Zeus help me what would Erin do.' Then
he knew, he knew exactly what Erin would do. He pulled his foot back and
then kicked out sharply, as hard as he could, straight at Triton's crotch.

That did something, boy did it do something. Triton flew backwards and
smashed into the wall on a strange whiny canine noise. Cupid didn't bother
trying to get up or move or do anything at all. He just vanished.

---

Cupid swung the mirror around and glared at his face. His eye was currently
an artistic rendering of serious ouch. It actually almost looked worse than
it felt, which was saying something. He couldn't find Mom's salve anywhere
and that alone was tempting him to very immaturely burst into tears. He
folded his arms and dropped his face carefully into them.

He was cold and he felt awful, and there was something wrong with his head.
He didn't feel well at all and his hands were wobbling. Which was just
stupid because Gods didn't get ill, sure some tiny micro-organisms got
mutated and attacked divinity but it wasn't like they stood a chance, it was
suicide.

No one had ever hit him that hard before, and he'd certainly never been
punched, as for the rest well he wasn't going to think about that.

His own face was laughing at him though, didn't his father say it's your
enemies that will tell you the truth. He closed his eyes and sighed into his
arm. Was that what everyone thought of him, really? He stiffened when the
door opened. Oh Gods Erin couldn't you have at least waited until I fixed my
eye.

"You are not gonna believe what I found, check this out, the skull rotates.
Look the little man comes out, who incidentally looks a lot like your dad,-"
Cupid didn't look at him, he could feel Erin staring in the silence.

"Cupe, you ok?" If he didn't turn Erin would just come round the other side.
Very slowly Cupid turned around.


Title: Growing Up 14: Misery 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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Erin isn't happy at all and Cupid lies.




Whatever Erin had been holding clattered to the floor.
"What the Tartarus happened to you!" Cupid opened his mouth 'Don't tell him'
and that voice was the same voice that suggested all the cool stuff they did
together, so he couldn't figure that out at all. Cupid swallowed because
what he wanted to say was shrivelling up. What would happen if he did tell,
would telling make it true. Not that he was stupid enough to believe that,
only kids believed that.

Erin was next to him, very carefully lifting Cupid's chin into the light.
"Who hit you!" Erin snapped and Cupid actually felt the anger roll over him,
prickly and oddly comforting. Until he realised how stupid that was. Cupid
didn't think 'I fell' was going to cut it with Erin. He didn't think
anything which wasn't a partial truth could get by Erin. How could he tell
him though. 'Hey Erin Triton told me I'm technically a whore, which by the
way I'm terrified is true. Then he tried to molest me and I refused, so
guess what, he punched me in the face.'

Suddenly it was there.
"I got into a fight!" Erin was scowling and tilting Cupid's head slowly
backwards and forwards. Looking like he'd quite like to put someone through
a wall.
"With who?!" it wasn't even close to being a question. Cupid tugged his head
away.
"It doesn't matter, one of Poseidon's kids."
"Which one?"

The look on Erin's face didn't hide much. The last thing Cupid wanted was to
drag this out, maybe not ever. He was just going to bury it in a dark hole
and get on with life thank you very much.
"Oh Erin just leave it, I made an utter prat of myself and proved that I
can't fight worth a damn ok." Cupid thought he finally understood the saying
about a lie running away from you. Erin looked torn. Cupid got the strangest
impression his friend wanted to shake it out of him and was being maturely
restrained.

"He was taking the piss, and I came off worse, it's nothing." Be reassuring,
act like it's nothing. Act like you don't think your stomach's going to fall
out. Gods where the hell had 'that' come from? Erin straddled the stool next
to him.
"So tell me his name and I'll go kick his arse." Cupid glared at him,
realised that narrowing his eyes hurt dammit.

"Oh yeah that'll do wonders for my reputation! Erin just leave it, mind
numbing embarrassment here." He went red and realised that part at least was
painfully true. Erin was still scowling. Cupid slumped a little lower.
"I can't find the damn stuff...and this hurts like a bitch in Tartarus."
Cupid carefully prodded the skin, avoided looking at Erin.

"Why won't you tell me who did this?" Erin sounded quietly, curiously angry
now, Cupid sighed loudly.
"I can't go running to you or my dad every time someone calls me names
Erin." Erin scowled.
"He called you names?" Cupid slapped both hands on the table, tried to stop
his eyes from watering.
"Erin just drop it!" Cupid felt like shit the moment he closed his mouth.
'You've told him everything since you were five years old,' the voice in his
head offered. 'He told you everything too, everything.' He told the voice
very firmly to shut up and go away.

Erin shut his mouth, dropped his hands back down to his thighs. His eyes
flickered back and forth, then settled on Cupid. He shook his head slowly
then gently regripped Cupid's jaw. He gave a little sigh and tilted his
head, carefully.
"Well nothings broken but it doesn't look pretty."
Erin held out a hand and a familiar green pot appeared in it.

"I was looking for that."
"Yeah well your Mom keeps it with her other potions now." Erin set it down
and snapped the top off.
"Hold still" he grabbed Cupid's chin in thin fingers and stuck his other
hand in the pot. Cupid felt like Pep's doll, the one she put make up on that
was just a head. Not a flattering comparison.

"I can do this myself you know." Erin snorted.
"Yeah, the last time you got a finger-full up your nose" Cupid rolled his
eyes.
"Keep still" Cupid obeyed. Erin swiped green stuff over Cupid's cheek.

"Ow" Erin rolled his eyes.
"Is it supposed to hurt this much?" Erin carefully shrugged while his
fingers went round Cupids eye socket.
"I can't remember, I haven't had bruises that stayed for a long time." Cupid
felt bad about that too, but maybe the only thing stopping him from crying
was being a brat.

"Well it hurts" Cupid's face was tingling now, but it did still hurt. Like
the inside of his face was trying to grow and his skin was shrinking, and
there was this horrible thudding right underneath his eye.
"Is it going?" Erin gave him a look.
"Stop being impatient." Cupid swallowed, flinched when Erin went over his
eyebrow.
"If your Mom sees you looking like this she'd freak you know that right."
Cupid couldn't nod since Erin's finger was under his eye.
"Uh huh" Erin took his hands away, screwed the top back on the pot, wiped
his fingers on his pants.

"You tell me if this guy starts on you again though right. I'll knot his
legs behind his head!" Cupid puffed air through his lips.
"I'm serious Cupe, hitting someone who doesn't know what he's doing is not a
fight." Erin locked eyes with him, 'and you know' Cupid thought miserably
and instantly felt a hundred times worse. Cupid nodded very slowly, he
couldn't do anything else. Erin rocked back on his heels, offered one last
frown then tilted his head.

"Want me to stay, I could take off, your dad won't mind." Cupid shook his
head because he wanted to fix the buzzing in his head a little first, so he
could wander around and not feel weird. The part of him that wanted Erin to
stay was whispering, but the part that wanted to be left alone was bellowing
it's damn head off.

"No, I still gotta go see Heph anyways." Erin frowned.
"You sure." Cupid nodded. Erin looked at him and didn't say anything, for a
minute. Finally he sighed through his nose.
"Well you know where I am if you wanna come yell and throw stuff." Cupid
offered a very thin smile.
"I'm not my Mother." The smile went slightly pained but stayed there because
he owed it to Erin to smile. Erin smirked back, unfolded himself and stood.

"Yeah, say that again the next time you have a disagreement with your many
pairs of shoes." The smile came back, wobbled but stayed, and it did feel
better to have it on his face again. Erin seemed relieved to see it at
least.
"I don't have that many shoes." Erin raised an eyebrow, Cupid conceded.
"Ok maybe a coupla pairs too many." They both went quite but it was ok, it
wasn't a bad quiet.

Erin sighed and bent down, looped awkward arms around Cupids chest. Erin
squeezed him and he smelt like leather and Erin from head to toe. Cupid
found himself blinking very quickly, squeezing him back.
"We only flip out cos we love you, you know that right?" Cupid swallowed and
nodded, throat closing up completely. Erin whipped his arms back,
embarrassed, he shuffled around, then shoved his hands in his pockets.
"Well come round for lunch then, your Dad's gonna attempt something with
cheese." Erin grabbed the green pot, dropped it in his pocket and vanished.

Cupid very slowly sank back down onto the table, a few seconds later he was
crying.


Title: Growing Up 15: Mischief
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Some pesky furniture
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Something very strange is happening, Cupid panics, Ares has a bad
hair day.


Cupid shifted his head a little way off of the pillow. Glared at the blur
which was his window. Why was he awake, the sun wasn't even up yet? Oh
please Mom don't be cleaning again. Whenever her and dad had a big fight she
whizzed around like a damn fairy, lifting heavy furniture, rearranging her
entire wardrobe, throwing away numerous pairs of shoes. All quite loudly and
with a vocabulary of swear words that Bacchus himself would be proud of.

He blinked, he didn't particularly want to get up yet. He wanted to
appreciate lazy unconsciousness before he was too old and too busy to
bother. Not that he was sleeping great, badly would be more apt. He was too
miserable and uptight right now to appreciate the world this early. He
turned his head back into the pillow and snorted into it.

Someone giggled.

Cupid glared into the fabric then pushed himself to a very irate sit.
"Erin!" His room was empty. He was pretty sure Erin couldn't do the
invisible thing yet but he scanned the room just in case, no Erin.

Then his pillow flew up and hit him in the back of the head. He sat there,
open mouthed and annoyed.
"Erin where the Tartarus are you levitating from!"

Another disembodied giggle and his sheet wound up his body then flipped over
his head. Cupid untangled himself with a growl.

"Erin I'm so not in the mood for this!" The sheet made another try and he
slapped it back down on the bed.
"Seriously Erin cut it out!" The sheet slid off the bed too fast for him to
grab and disappeared underneath it. Cupid sat there in his shorts. He wasn't
playing, it was way too early for this.

He got smacked in the back of the head again by his previously quite
comfortable pillow and then... Cupid flinched, whipped his eyes left and
right. Something was wrong, well maybe not wrong, more off. It felt
like...he didn't know.

All the jars on his shelf rattled, then tipped, went rolling towards the
edge. Cupid yelped, slid off the bed and managed to catch all of them
against his chest.

"Erin what the Tartarus is going on!" All he got was another damn giggle.

//Cupid!// Cupid froze, eyebrows going up.
//Dad?// His dad sounded like he was panicking, his dad never panicked.
Cupid's legs locked, he shook his head very slowly, dropped every jar he was
holding and let them smash on the floor.
"Not again Erin, don't do this to me again."

//Cupid stop panicking, I think everything's ok just get down here would
you.//

Cupid vanished.

---

He reappeared in his dad's temple, then ducked just in time for a chest of
drawers to go flying over his head and smash against the doors.

"Holy shit!" Someone grabbed his arm and yanked him behind the main desk. It
turned out to be a very rumpled God of War, hair falling round his eyes and
sticking up from behind his ears like there was a storm coming. They both
ducked when an expensive Turkish rug flew over their heads and then splatted
against the wall before slithering down to stay in a heap. As far as Cupid
could see most of what his father owned was currently airborne.
"Dad what the Tartarus is going on!"

Ares swivelled him to face Erin's bedroom. The doors of which rattled like a
gate in a hurricane. A suit of armour crashed against them, then rebounded
off.
" 'He' is what's going on, it looks like he did pick something up from Eris
after all." Cupid ducked again, then watched in awe through the hole where a
drawer had been, as several hundred scrolls coalesced into a fair
approximation of a person and then exploded in a shower of tiny bits of
paper.

"Is Erin doing this?"
"Damn right he is." Ares snapped.

Cupid stared, so this was Erin's Godhood, a lot of stuff crashing around
really loudly. His hadn't felt like this at all. His had felt like drowning
in ambrosia, or being smothered by something really nice, or like a giant
divine orgasm... not that he'd know about that. This didn't look like it
felt nice at all.

In fact this looked exactly like he imagined a war zone would look. Only
with furniture instead of people. Ares was keeping his eye on a rug which
was circling them with extreme menace.
"We gotta get across the room, right?" Ares nodded.
"So shall we run?" Ares shook his head.
"Trust me this is far more dangerous than it looks."

Cupid scowled, Ares was the God of War, how could he possibly be afraid of
furniture, that was just silly. His dad could blow half this stuff up
without breaking a sweat. Cupid slithered out from behind the desk while his
Dad was watching a flying torch and edged his way to the wall. He could do
this, no problem.

The expensive Turkish weaving split from the pack and followed him.

Cupid heard his father shout at him, loudly, tried to turn around. He made a
loud startled noise when the rug smashed into his bag and folded him up,
then constricted tight. He was yanked off his feet and hit the floor in a
cloud of dust and Turkish thread.

He yelped when the rug squashed tighter, pinning his arms to his side and
his wings to his back. Then it squished, scratchy threads pulling across his
arms and legs. With a spike of bewildered terror he realised the rug was
making chewing motions. It was about then that he lost his nerve.

"Dad!" He tried to twist his head around and got a mouthful of tassels.
"Dad!" He heard Ares swear, loudly and muffled, then something ripped, then
a large hand slid under his armpit, pulled.
"Cupid" he twisted his head and tried to wiggle free while the carpet
quivered in strange upholstery pain. Ares managed to get him free, raised
the sword he held and chopped the carpet in two. It shuddered once and was
still.

Ares dragged Cupid backwards by an arm.
"Now do you believe me."
"The carpet tried to eat me!" Cupid offered in a high pitched voice.
"The carpet tried to eat me!" Ares dragged him down when a set of curtains
complete with pole swished past, clicking, and Cupid had the strangest
notion it was out for revenge.

"Why would Erin let a carpet try and eat me?" Ok, he was aware he sounded a
little affronted. Ares grabbed him again when a shield went spinning past
overhead.
"He's not distinguishing between different types of mischief. It's all woken
up!" Ares offered, then leant up far enough to slash at a wardrobe with his
sword and send it spinning into the far wall, where it smashed into
splinters.

Cupid disagreed, trust Erin's godhood to explode to life in a world of evil
furniture.
"Well how long was Discord like this for?" His dad didn't say anything,
Cupid took that as a bad sign.

"So how are we going to get over there?" Ares didn't say anything he was
watching the furniture.
"Well what-" he yelped when Ares looped a hand round his elbow.

He left the floor, abruptly, spun round and thumped into his father. Who'd
grabbed the side of the mirror as it flew by.
"Shit!" Cupid decided, as the room whizzed by at a very unpleasant speed.
Then Ares let go, wrapped his arms around Cupid. His dad took the brunt of
the blow when his back smashed into Erin's bedroom doors, though Cupid still
felt every one of his bones groan in protest.

They both slither/squeaked down the doors and came to a rest on the marble.

---

Cupid sat there for a minute, panting, then pulled himself to a sit. Ares
grabbed him and yanked him sideways when two swords thudded hilt deep in the
door where his back was seconds before. Cupid eyed them in utter silence.
"Dad?" His father leant up drew back a fist and sent it crashing through the
wood next to the lock. Cupid ducked as bits of wood sprayed outwards when
his father jerked back his arm.

Then, since he was the only one looking, he yanked his father down by a
handful of hair when a shield whizzed by on an arc that threatened
decapitation. Ares eyed his son then leant up again and tore the lock out
like it was made of paper.

The doors juddered open and Cupid fell through them, knees hitting the
marble with twin cracks which sent icy pain up his legs.
"Ow," though he barely had time for that before a suit of armour clanged
into his back and sent him skidding along the floor, until he came to rest
against a leg of the bed, wings folded awkwardly over his head.

"Erin!" He had to shout loud over the wind, not to mention the clanging as
his father defended himself against what could only be a rack of shields.
The open window banged and a gust of wind sent his hair flying up and nearly
knocked him sideways. Cupid changed his mind, this wasn't a war zone it was
a natural disaster. He managed to get his head up off the floor without
getting speared by the vanity mirror which was whirling knife-like three
feet above him.

Erin was sprawled on his back, arms flung out to the side, his eyes were
shut. Cupid gaped, normally he was the one that could sleep through a
hurricane. Though Erin apparently wasn't completely oblivious, his chest was
rising and falling like an exhausted mortals.

Cupid crawled up the bed, smashed a chair out of the way and grabbed hold of
Erin's shoulders, shook him.
"Erin, Erin wake up, you're trashing the place!" He ducked a vase but it
caught him a good one where wing joined back and he yelped, Zeus that hurt.

Erin flinched and opened his eyes. Everything in the room cascaded to the
floor in a world of sound. He heard his father swear loudly as an even
louder orchestra went up outside.

Erin blinked, focused on Cupid's panting face and electrified hair. He
raised very quizzical eyebrows up at him, Cupid glared back.
"Did I miss something?" Cupid stopped shaking him, then gave a funny
relieved little laugh and flopped his head down on Erin's chest, panted.
"You never make anything easy, you know that." Erin frowned down at him.
"Huh?"


Title: Growing Up 16: The Snake
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: I've been shamelessly prodding unknown Gods into the limelight
again. Don't blame me I think they kinda like it.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Some jealousy, some fear and a lesson finally yank Cupid out of his
mini pit of despair.


It was purple, was it supposed to be purple? Most of Mom's potions were
either pink or blue. He waved a hand over it again, gave it just a teeny bit
more 'Oomph.'

It went a very unpleasant brown. Cupid sighed, that definitely wasn't right.
In fact it didn't look pretty at all and he was sure his Mom wouldn't ever
produce a potion that was brown. Why was he fiddling with this anyway. Mom
was perfectly capable of waving a hand and getting whatever she wanted out
of mortals. Why all the fuss with little jars and bowls and stuff.

The thing was he was gonna try again, making it the grand total of what
thirty times? Since his Mom had promised if he did it right they'd talk
about arrows, real arrows. Which was definitely a more exciting prospect
than sticking stuff in a bottle.

There was only one problem, he couldn't get it right, he was doing something
wrong and he got a different colour every damn time. He slumped over on the
stool and rested his head on a part of the table which wasn't sticky.

He couldn't concentrate today, he hadn't been able to concentrate all week
and he had decided his godhood was broken. It wasn't the sort of thing you
could send back for repairs either. Though knowing Heph he'd give it a damn
good go. He'd rub his chin, nod a few times then shuffle off to the forge
and bring it back in a week good as new. That was a comforting thought. He
was pretty much resolved to staying right where he was all afternoon.

Erin was late, of course he probably had much better things to do than watch
Cupid make brown stuff in a bowl. Erin had, if possible, become even more
chaotic since he got his own Godhood. So he figured today was going to
pretty much suck dawn til dusk.

A flash behind him distracted him from seriously considering thumping his
head against the table. Though strangely enough Erin didn't normally jangle
that much. Intrigued as to what his friend had brought this time, he turned
around.

For a fraction of a second Cupid forgot entirely about being broken and
rubbish.
"What the Tartarus happened to you!" Erin grinned and plonked himself down
next to him. Cupid peered at him like he'd grown a new head.

"What did you do?" Cupid lifted a hand and grabbed Erin's ear, which now
sported more metal than a small armoury.
"Do these go through. Oh my Gods they do!" Erin was still grinning, it
wasn't a normal grin either, it was a very hyperactive grin.
"You had metal stuck through your ears, only you could find someone,
somewhere that would stick stuff in you."
"Not the exact words I would've used." Erin mumbled, then giggled. He waved
his hands, in a way that was as hyperactive as it appeared to be confused.
"But that's not important."

Cupid was still staring at the amount of silver in Erin's ear. Wondered
whether to ask if Erin had gone completely mad, but Erin was already tugging
him off the stool.
"You have to come see him, and you have to come now." Cupid heard the
unspoken 'before your Mom comes back and starts asking where you skipped
to.' Cupid barely had time to drop the glass of brown goo before Erin
whisked him away.

---

They reappeared in a temple done in black and white, with long swathes of
red breaking the monochrome apart. Cupid for a fraction of a second was
unnerved and confused. He didn't think Erin had been anywhere he hadn't.
Most of the other places they weren't allowed to go. This one though didn't
seem familiar, high walls decked with cabinets. He could see a thousand tiny
jars through the glass, all labelled in two different types of handwriting,
beautiful flowing calligraphy and angry splotched letters. Erin steered him
through a set of doors in the other way.

"Where are we?"
"You'll see," was all Erin said. Cupid went through, stopped dead. It was
like walking into a cave of treasure, everything sparkled. The cabinets in
this room glowed and went up forever until you couldn't even hope to see
what was inside them, but the lower ones were full of silver, gold, bronze
and other metals he couldn't name that maybe only Heph could and whoever
owned this temple.

Erin stopped, Cupid nearly bumped into him, stopped as well. They faced a
long leather chair which very carefully rocked. Cupid stayed against Erin's
side as the chair spun around on it's tiny metal spider-legs.
"Back so soon Mischief?" Half of the face was obscured by a long spill of
blood red hair. Only one person had hair like that. Cupid raised an eyebrow
in Erin's direction, was startled to find Erin grinning at the figure on the
chair. The figure who swung towards him.

"Cupid," He'd been acknowledged and he wasn't entirely sure that was a good
thing. His spine stiffened, wings falling flat. 'Do not trust him' he heard
his Father warn in his head. It was one of the very few things his father
had ever said about the God seated before them.

"Janus," leather creaked as Janus spilled out of the chair. He was smiling
but with Janus that didn't much matter, the mortal world had coined the term
'two faced' with him in mind. Sure, Janus could do the skin tight red
leather thing well enough to make you blink but Cupid was willing to bet he
could bite just as well as he could kiss, and both of them were equally an
option.

Erin stepped forward and slid up onto the desk, almost into Janus personal
space. Cupid wouldn't have sat there if you paid him, he was more than a
little annoyed and surprised that Erin would.
"Janus gave me free stuff, cos I was new. If you ask him nice he'd probably
give you free stuff too." Cupid blinked, he didn't think asking Janus nicely
for anything was a good idea.

Erin was grinning at Janus again, like they shared something secret and
Cupid didn't like that at all, he wasn't going to try to put a finger on why
because he couldn't face the possibility of Erin running off with new
friends. Janus was way older than them, he should know better. Dad would
kick his arse if he tried anything creepy on either of them.

Erin hopped down off of the desk and got close enough to Janus for Cupid to
want to pull him away. Erin actualy touched him, laid a hand on his shoulder
like they were best friends or something.

"Cupe look at this, this is awesome, turn around Janus." Cupid felt a brief
flicker of surprise when the God of Gateways turned around. Since when had
Erin been so friendly with the creepy side of the family? He was even more
surprised when Erin pulled the shirt up at the back exposing a sliver of
back that wasn't entirely back.
"Check this out!" Cupid was a fraction of a second away from spitting out a
'no' when a glint of black amongst all that red changed his mind.

He stepped a little closer, Erin scowled at him.
"Get down here." Erin tugged his wing until he had no choice but to crouch
down. He saw where the black was coming from, Erin pulled the shirt higher
and Cupid fought the urge to jerk backwards, stayed bravely where he was.
The black went upwards to curl around Janus shoulder blades, splitting into
two, each ended in a head, instantly recognisable as the head of a snake.

It was definitely more Erin's style than his. Erin would love it, Cupid just
thought it was creepy.
"Isn't it awesome, I could never do this in a million years, look at where
it splits off." Cupid watched, oddly annoyed as Erin's fingers slid up Janus
spine to tap at where the snake split into two.
"See it doesn't look like it grew like that, it looks like it was ripped."
He was oddly relieved that Erin sounded a tiny bit disturbed. He was brought
right back to the present when Janus shoulders stiffened just a little.

"Janus does everything, you should see the amount of needles he owns." Erin
offered, dropping the shirt.
"He has more jewellery than both our Mom's put together. Though ok not quite
as much as Hecate but it's all wicked, not a fairy or a flower in sight.
Well ok there is a fairy but it has tiny fangs and little claws, totally
boss, right Janus?" Janus peered over his own shoulder and rolled an eye,
though the side of his mouth lifted. Erin tugged Cupid upright and over to
one of the cabinets.

"Look." Cupid couldn't focus that quickly, there was so much silver and
bronze and bleeding gem stones, all assaulting his senses. From tiny
bacchae, to weaponry, to a collection of tiny skeletal body parts. He
finally saw what Erin was pointing at.

"That's the one your Dad's having, that's what he sent me to pick up." Cupid
watched the tiny sword dangle harmlessly against red silk and considered it,
yes that was definitely his dad's taste, definitely. Plain, simple, and yet
dangerous looking. Erin leant over farther.

"The bacchae come in here, I didn't think they went anywhere apart from
Bacchus temple but I saw some in here, up close." Cupid blinked, why didn't
he end up in places where things like that happened, he'd give his left wing
to catch a bacchae just wandering around. He'd swear that Erin was growing
up without him, getting creepy new friends and smiling at them and stuff. He
felt a twinge of something that might eventually turn into panic, or misery
at the very least.

Erin wandered off then and Cupid blinked after him. Erin actually wandered
off and went into another room, lined with barrels and trays. He saw a flash
of black leather and then Erin was gone. Cupid stiffened and glanced to
where Janus was leant against a cupboard, looking anything but harmless. In
fact he bumped off of the cabinet and slid across the floor to stand next to
him.

Cupid stood perfectly still, uncomfortable and wishing he could leave, or
tell Janus to go away, or something. What the Tartarus was Erin doing in
there! Janus spoke and he jumped, he hadn't expected it.
"Do you see anything which entices you?" Cupid carefully considered what
Janus had said, then shook his head.
"No," he offered, just in case the head shaking hadn't been enough. He
looked up, Janus was still smiling at him.
"Are you sure?" Cupid stepped back.
"Yes." Janus laughed.
"I don't bite," Cupid hunched closer around the cabinet against the wall.
Janus watched him in utter silence then took a step forward, Cupid froze.

Janus tilted his head to one side and regarded him carefully.
"Oh but someone's bitten you already, haven't they." Cupid flinched
backwards, knocking a tray of silver to the floor. Janus didn't move
forward, just stood there, eyeing him like a snake. Nothing would happen
though, because Erin was right outside and Erin wouldn't leave him and
wander off if Janus was that dangerous would he? Erin wouldn't leave him
here if Janus tried...anything.

Janus lifted a hand, brushed it slowly through Cupid's hair, carefully not
touching the scalp. Cupid watched it, eyes narrowed.
"A word of advice my young friend, just because something looks like a
snake, doesn't mean it will bite you." Cupid scowled, horribly uncomfortable
with the way things were going.
"Eventually, even snakes get bitten back." Cupid continued to stare, one eye
on the other room, where Erin was leaning over the table, feet off the
floor, hand in a barrel of silver. Janus was watching him through that lone
eye but he didn't look like he wanted to do anything.
"What do you mean?" he said quietly, though he wasn't sure he wanted to
know.

Janus chuckled and lifted a hand, swept long fingers through that spill of
red hair and pushed it back. Cupid jerked back against the cabinet on a soft
noise of shocked horror. Heart thundering inside his ears.

Janus chuckled and let the hair drop. Cupid continued to breathe but he
could still see what was under that hair, could still see the other half of
Janus face.

"Who?" he managed breathlessly. Janus gave another little laugh, but flicked
his eyes towards the room where Erin still rummaged.
"Oh I'm sure your father will tell you that story another time, when you're
older... much older." Janus smiled but Cupid could see now, that he was only
smiling with one half of his face, he had to be. Why would someone do that?
How could anyone do that? Gods weren't supposed to...scar. Oh Gods that
wasn't even the right word for that face.

"Let's just say someone else once thought me something I was not." Janus
offered carefully and Cupid felt the single eye sweep over him. It seemed
everything of late was making him feel like he was living life wrong. 'You
judged him on what he looked like.' Cupid realised with cold clarity. 'You
judged him on what he looked like and what he does, who's guilty now?'

"I'm...sorry," Cupid managed. Janus considered him for a minute.
"I do believe you are." He said quietly and Cupid was surprised by that. He
vaguely tried to recall what else had been said by his father and couldn't.
Janus was watching him, red eyebrow raised but it was an amused look. Cupid
had the feeling he'd earned himself a reprieve.

He jumped when Erin slung an arm around his shoulder, waved something inches
from his face.
"Look, a little spider, a little silver spider. It's got tiny fangs and
everything. " Erin proffered it, then switched it to the other hand.
"I found something for you too, if you dare to have your ear horribly
violated."

Erin chuckled and lifted the thing. Cupid watched it swing in the light. It
was a tiny silver heart, with an arrow through it. Far from being grotesque
it seemed oddly Erin and yet oddly him too. He lifted his hand and curled
his fingers round it. Erin made an extremely pleased noise somewhere near
his ear, which was good enough. Erin liked Janus and Cupid knew that Erin
never liked anyone without a reason, Cupid trusted Erin.
"How much does it hurt?" Erin laughed.

Janus was watching them and he had a smile on his face which wasn't quite as
scary as maybe he'd thought it was. Well half of his face, Cupid didn't want
to think about the other half, that definitely wasn't smiling.



Title: Growing Up 17: Confessions
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Erin tries to cheer Cupid up, in his own particular way.


Erin did not like heights, it was one of the only things which made his
stomach flip around in unpleasant circles. It didn't matter that he could
Flash away in motion now, high was still high. Typical, the only fear left
over from childhood and it was one that his Mother had nothing to do with.
He couldn't exactly flash in, not if he wanted to be stealth guy.

Very carefully he swung his leg over the balcony and looked in the window.
She was alone, concentrating on levitating what looked like a jar of
pickles. He waited until she had them in her hand and was munching one,
before he knocked.

The head swung in his direction and he waved.

Pep glanced at the doors, then concentrated on them briefly until Erin heard
the lock click. Only then did she bounce up and fling the window open.

Pep grabbed him by the shoulders and tugged him inside, where he thumped
against the floor. So much for stealth guy.

"I wasn't expecting you, I would have tidied, don't look over there, I
forgot to umm put that away." Pep kicked something under the bed.
"Oh and don't tread on that, I spilt some pineapple juice over there." She
shuffled.
"Umm you can sit if you like," Pep moved across the room, shoved a pile of
clothes off of a chair and then brushed crumbs off of it.
"You could have told me you were coming, I would've-well I'm not telling you
cos it's a girl thing. Is Cupid with you?" Erin stepped forward and slapped
a hand over her mouth.

Pep looked up at him, rolled her eyes in apology.
"I'm being stealth guy," Erin offered in a pointed whisper, Pep nodded, Erin
took his hand away.
"Sorry, I've been here all day," Pep offered very quietly.
"While Mom entertains." She gave him a very adult look which said quite
clearly it wasn't the type of entertaining where tea and biscuits were
involved. Erin fought the urge to shudder, you could do that with your own
Mom but not other people's.

Pep flopped down on the bed.
"I'm eleven, I'm still allowed to think it's completely gross right?" Erin
nodded.
"Definitely."
"Did you think it was gross when you were eleven." Pep went red and shut her
mouth, she'd remembered exactly where Erin was when he was eleven.
"Sorry" Erin slung an arm around her shoulders.
"It's ok and yes I thought it was unbelievably gross." Pep regained her
smile.

"I mean ok I know they do it and everything but I don't want to watch, or
listen, or even know that it's going on. She does her best but it's my Mom,
I don't want to hear her...too gross" Erin shuffled and stared at the wall,
sending her very clear signals to please stop talking about it since her Mom
was in the next room and Ew.

Pep, thank all the Gods, seemed to notice and went blissfully quiet,
briefly.
"So where's Cupid, is he still upstairs," Erin nodded.
"Pep I need a favour." Pep's eyes widened and she stood up.
"From me, sure, what can I do to help, man this is so cool. I mean I'm not
half as cool as you guys, you two need help from me I mean ...wow." Pep must
have noticed the expression on his face because she sat down again.

"This is for Cupid right, because he's been miserable." Erin nodded,
unsurprised that Pep had noticed it too, but surprised she hadn't pointed it
out before. She always pointed out everything she noticed.

"What do you need?" Erin grinned, couldn't resist slinging an arm around her
shoulders, noticed the way she went still, waiting for input.
"It might be a little tricky." Persephone grinned.

---

Cupid glared at the table, there was his bow, in six different pieces,
polished and shiny and perfect, and he was damned if he could remember how
they went together. He'd done it a million times without thinking about it
but suddenly he was The God of Stupidity. He glared at them, was that bit
upside down? Did that bit actually belong or had it rolled out of his
mothers tapestry basket?

Maybe he's be forced to carry it around in pieces until he found Ares or
Erin came round. Erin would know how to put it together. He was drawn out of
his reverie when something smacked him in the side of the face. He opened
his mouth in shock. Something cold slid down his cheek and landed on the
table with a soft 'flop.'

His first thought was 'why is someone throwing ice at me?' his second was
'Ow' as another one of the things bounced off of his head. He turned towards
the window and found two grinning faces looking at him.
One of them was instantly recognisable as Pep, big cheeks glowing, eyes
wide.
"Hey wings." Cupid slid his eyes across to Erin.
"Get out here." Then both figures vanished. Cupid stared at the window, then
stood up, wandered over and stopped dead.

It was snowing in the main gardens. Not gentle snow that sometimes fell in
Zeus and Hera's gardens, or the fine snow that fell around Heph's forge.
This was thick snow which made the sky look like soup, snow that was fast
making the ground disappear, cold, perfect, absolutely white snow. Cupid
stared, until a snowball hit him in the face and he had to spit most of it
out.

Pep was off behind a very white rose bush, Erin stood in the snow, flakes
falling on black leather then melting and sliding off. He was tossing a
snowball from hand to hand.
"What did you do?" Was all Cupid could offer. Erin crunched towards him
through the snow.
"Why is it snowing?" Cupid lifted his head until he got a face full of snow
and had to shake it off, he couldn't resist the chuckle.
"Why is it snowing so much!" He didn't have time to reply, Erin tugged him
out of the window and into the snow.

---

"Look I love you guys, I really do but if you throw them at me I'll hit you
both." Pep screamed as a hail of snowballs hit her, mostly in the face.
"Cupid! Erin!" they'd already hared off through the bushes. Erin skidded to
a stop, shook snow off of his head and crept along the Snapdragons, which
were looking a little worse for wear, and very wet.

Cupid peered through the bushes.
"What's she doing?" Erin hissed.
"Scowling, and wandering around peering behind the roses." Erin plastered
himself along Cupid's back, splaying the wings outwards, snow fell off of
them.

"Oh, now she's looking this way."
"She is?"
"Uh huh, now she's coming this way." Erin looked up at the fir tree that
canopied this side of the wall. It was heaving with snow. He grinned, nudged
Cupid, Cupid looked up, then set his tongue between his teeth and smiled.
Cupid took the largest branch, Erin took the trunk.

"How close?"
"Seven feet" Cupid hissed, Erin braced his hands on the trunk, Cupid very
carefully started to pull the branch down.
"Five, three, two, one!" Erin shoved, Cupid let his branch go, snow flew in
all directions. Erin heard Pep squeal loudly but couldn't see a damn thing,
snow had gone up his nose. Cupid was snorting snow as well next to him.

"You guys are so dead!" Cupid and Erin smacked into each other and went
sprawling in the snow, trying to laugh and escape and get up all at the same
time. Erin eventually managed to haul Cupid up by his hips and shove him in
the general direction that the path was probably in. He'd apparently guessed
wrong because a few seconds later they both ran into the same tree, went
bouncing off down the actual path and ended up sprawled in the snow again,
with Pep's hysterical laughter following them.

---

"It doesn't look a lot like Ares." Persephone offered. Erin stuck his tongue
out at her, she returned the gesture.
"I'm not Apollo ok, I'm doing my best."
"In fact it looks an awful lot like three balls of snow, and somehow I don't
remember Ares having a carrot for a nose." Cupid turned around brandished
two large kiwi fruits and a long stick.

"It was all I could find, a potato just looked silly." Pep frowned at the
snow Ares, whose shield was more actually trying to bisect him, than leaning
against his leg. The sword was pretty good. Erin had slammed the point into
the snow and had made pretty good fingers round the hilt.

The helmet wasn't quite as good.
"The helmets still too big for the head, it's just sort of sitting on top."
"You wanna come fix it!" Pep nodded. Cupid sighed and leant down, grabbed
Pep under the armpit and hoisted her up. She leant forward and scooped the
snow on either side off of the head, then she put the helmet back, it fit
perfectly.

"See?" Ok, so maybe Ares wouldn't be thrilled by the fact that they'd given
him a big pointy head but it was snow, there was only so much you could do
with the stuff. Cupid set Pep down and regarded the snow figure.
"Ok so that's a bit better." Pep grinned smugly. Erin was already pushing
the kiwi fruits in as eyes, Cupid slid his finger along underneath them,
making a long smile. They all stepped back, and were quiet for a minute.

"Does anyone else think it's creepy?" Erin finally offered, Pep had to nod
agreement. It did look faintly creepy and a little menacing. Cupid cocked
his head.
"I think Dad would approve." Erin slapped his hands together.
"Right so creepy snow Ares can protect the flowers."

"What are we doing now?" Pep offered and it was clear by her immense smile
that pelting her with snowballs again was definitely an option. Erin was
looking at the long hill that sloped down towards the lower temples. The
long snow covered hill, which as a matter of fact sloped quite sharply. Very
slowly he looked back at the shield stuck in the Snow Ares.

---

Erin raised his head out of a snowdrift and shook it, cold metal slapping
his cheek. Then he looked at the snow around him. Pep was sprawled on her
back laughing her head off. Whilst Cupid, who had mostly stayed on the
shield, was flopped over on his back staring at the sky and grinning, really
grinning. They'd hit a tree, which because of the snow they hadn't seen.

Pep sat up, shook her head a few times and stopped laughing, eyes shiny.
"Again!" she snapped and before Cupid or Erin could open their mouths she'd
pulled the shield out from under Cupid and was lugging it back up the hill.
Cupid sat up, revealing a perfect winged imprint in the snow and laughed.

"I have to admit I sort of agree with Pep." Erin pulled most of himself out
of the snow. Cupid leant down and dragged him the rest of the way.
"But this time miss the tree Erin." Erin grinned
"Wasn't that the fun part?" They both vanished and reappeared at the top of
the hill.

Pep was already there, sitting in the shield, legs splayed out.
"Come on, come on." Erin shook his head.
"Looks like Pep's steering." He climbed in behind her, wrapped his legs
round her waist being careful not to kick her in the head. Not that Pep
looked as if she'd mind. Cupid shuffled in behind and wrapped his arms
around Erin's waist. Which pretty much guaranteed than if one of them went
flying they all would.

"Now!" Pep demanded. Since Cupid was the only one left with a leg free he
swung it out and kicked the ground. Pep shrieked when the shield tilted and
started to slide, she screamed all the way down the hill.

They ended up in the snow drift, again.

---

Cupid very gently pushed open the window. Erin stepped over the balcony and
Cupid leant a shoulder against his hand. It said a lot for how young Pep
actually was that she'd fallen asleep against Cupid's bare shoulder, hair
fallen out of her plaits, eyes shut. Cupid leant over and settled her on the
bed, where she moaned a complaint and clung to an arm, her eyes opened
fractionally and she smiled at them both sleepily.

"Love you." Cupid grinned at her, he knew she did, because he could feel it.
"I know you do Pep." Erin lifted his hand and waved. Pep wiggled her fingers
back, then shut her eyes again, her mothers snow globe gently slid out of
her sleeve and spun, then came to a rest on the bed.

---

Cupid flopped down in the snow, stared at the sky and sighed.
"It's melting." Erin watched him, to see if he looked any better, he was
smiling, so hopefully he felt like himself again. He certainly hadn't been
acting like himself since the fight.
"Yep, it'll be gone soon, it is the way of snow." Cupid chuckled.
"That's deep,"
"Thank you." Erin flung his arms out, swished them up and down in what was
left of the snow.

"That was fun." Cupid snorted quietly.
"Shouldn't we be too old for fun." Erin poked him in the side until he
flinched and giggled.
"We are so not, I intend to have fun until I'm wizened and dead, about a
zillion, billion years from now." Cupid tilted his head and raised an
eyebrow at him.
"You're not gonna die, ever." Erin frowned.
"Well then I intend to have fun until I'm just wizened then." Cupid was
quiet for a minute.

"Erin?"
"Hmm" Cupid stayed quiet long enough for Erin to turn and look at him. He
was chewing his lip, staring up at the sky.
"What do you...How does..." Cupid trailed off and stared at the sky. Erin
watched him, when it didn't look like there was anything else coming he
sighed.
"Talk to me Cupe." He said quietly, which seemed to do the trick. Cupid
blinked then opened his mouth.
"Do you think your Godhood could make you a bad person?" Erin felt like a
cold hand was wrapping round his throat and might just squeeze.
"You mean mine?" He asked very quietly. Cupid gave him a shocked look.
"No mine!" Erin scowled, stared at him, more in surprise than anything else.

"Why would your Godhood make you a bad person, you're love, how can you be
an evil love god?" Erin's brows were knitting so fast it felt like they were
going to join together. Cupid stared some more, then finally tilted his head
to look at him.
"Not evil exactly, just..." he trailed off, then started again.
"My Mom takes care of Love right, the other kinds of love. Like for your
kids and your brothers and friends and when you love your country or your
boat or your dog." Erin wanted to laugh but he didn't because there was
something in here that wasn't nice, he could feel it coming.

"Sure." Cupid's wings twitched in the snow, then went still.
"What do I get?" Erin frowned and thought about it, he'd never really
considered it.
"People falling in love I guess," he offered.
"Passion and...stuff." Cupid's eyes flickered a little.
"Define stuff?" Erin glanced across at him, he looked pretty adamant, he
also looked worried. Erin rolled his eyes.
"Well y'know...intimacy, flowers, poetry and unbearably cute stuff, and all
that 'I can't live without you so I'm gonna throw myself off this high
cliff' stuff." Cupid watched him, blinked in a confused way, then looked
away.
"Why? Cupe why are you worrying about this?" Cupid was quiet again.

"What if people expect..." Cupid's voice broke off and he stared angrily at
the sky again. Erin frowned, brain working feverishly. What the Tartarus was
Cupid talking about, what would people expect. For him to fly around and
shoot arrows into people, sure. For him to put couples together, sure. Love,
that was pretty much expected. Defending the innocent, helping the lonely,
oh Gods what else had Aphrodite said.

"I think the responsibility is getting on top of me." Cupid said quietly,
Erin wasn't entirely convinced, but Cupid went on slowly.
"I'm going to have a temple some day and people are going to worship me and
I'm not entirely sure what it is I'm supposed to be doing. Sometimes I kinda
like the idea, because it's sort of exciting, but sometimes it scares the
crap out of me Erin." Cupid twisted his head to one side.

"I'm learning all these things so I can do the job right but I don't know
exactly what it is I'm supposed to be doing. What if I'm bad at it, what if
I hate it and I'm miserable." Erin blew out a relieved breath, flopped his
head sideways too. He tried to say everything at once, and wasn't sure if it
would come out meaning anything at all.

"You don't think I'm scared as well. I'm learning how to kill people, I'm
learning how to get stuff I don't think I'll ever want. I'm going to be
mischief and mischief isn't always nice, sure kids are wonderful, they're
warm and sparkly, it's like absorbing ambrosia." Erin paused.

"But the other things, I'm not saying they're not nice because they are.
Which they probably shouldn't be, but my head knows how to do them and it's
all the same. You think I want to have a temple and be in charge of all that
stuff. You don't think that scares the hell out of me too." Cupid looked at
him, blinked.

"Ares has been teaching me stuff Mom learned and that's scary too because I
was up close and personal with Mom's godhood, some of the things she did,
Zeus Cupid some of it I cleaned it up and I'm so scared I'm gonna end up
like that. Sometimes I wish I was you, sure I mean Love." Erin gave a little
giggle.

"Not really my thing, but it's you. You're Mom's done it all and she'll be
there, and if something scares the crap out of you then your Mom will be
there, Godhood or not, and she'll slam her foot right down. You know that
right." Cupid blinked at him and his eyes looked huge up this close.
"Right?" Cupid remained completely silent. He stared at him, then Erin saw
the swallow all the way down his throat.

Cupid nodded, flopped his head against Erin's until they made a black and
white fan against the snow. Erin grinned and left his head there
"Besides it's not like you'll be all alone, I'll be freaking out in the
temple right next door." Cupid laughed gently, making their heads wobble.

"You'll be there?" Cupid said it softly though, as if he wasn't sure. Erin
pulled a face.
"What you think I'm gonna run off looking for another best friend." Erin
watched Cupid's face flicker and sighed.
"Cupe, you have no idea do you, you are my best friend, you have been since
I was five." Erin crossed his eyes and attempted to look at Cupid from less
than an inch away.
"You're also my cousin, sort of, maybe, depends who my Dad turns about to
be, I could be your Uncle too." Cupid rolled his eyes at him.
"Or at a stretch your grandfather." Cupid lifted an arm and dropped snow on
his head.

Erin snorted,
"Seriously Cupe you're not getting rid of me, ever!"



Title: Growing Up 18: Identification Required I
Author: Corona
Rating: R (?)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: Oh just about everyone, m/f, m/m, f/f, m/other (don't ask!)
Warning: Sex, I've peeked at just about everyone here.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: At sixteen Erin decides it's about time they pay a visit to the
second party. Commence the 'sneaking in without ID' portion of growing up!



"Honey pass me that-no not that one, the blue one." Cupid sighed and passed
over the bottle that was being cheerfully pointed at.
"Ok then, and you're gonna take the boat out tonight right Hon?" Cupid
shrugged, Erin, who was just visible sticking out of the bits of couch he'd
sunk into, shrugged too.
"Probably, either that or we'll go see Pep, she doesn't like being shoved
out of the way either." His Mom sighed and folded him in a huge hug. Which
Cupid decided he probably should try to squirm out of, but didn't.
"Awh Hon, you can come play when you're twenty, you know that."

Aphrodite bounced the box of bottles up onto her hip like it didn't weigh
anything at all and blew out a breath.
"Well that's about all of it." The box shifted and glass clinked.
"Are you two sure you'll find something to do?" Cupid rolled his eyes.
"We usually do, don't we?" Aphrodite sighed, lifted a hand and patted him on
the cheek.

"We'll all be back tomorrow morning, noon at the latest." Cupid fought a
shudder. 'Yeah cos you'll be busy having sex until then.'
"I know, I know," he offered instead and flopped on the arm of the couch.
She bent down and kissed him on the cheek.
"Have fun!" she disappeared before either of them could get a word out.

Cupid stood there for a second, glaring at the space she'd occupied, then
flopped down on the arm of the couch. Erin pouted at him and patted him on
the shoulder

"Well we could always stealthily follow her." Cupid eyed Erin, who was
sitting very still, not looking at him twisting the lid on a jar of sherbet.
"Sneak in through the curtains at the back." Cupid made bug eyes at him.
"How do you know that?" Erin continued to pick at the lid.
"I'm Mischief remember, it's my business to sneak in places I'm not supposed
to be." Cupid eyed him for a minute.
"Did you go before?" He really wanted to add 'without me' but kept his mouth
shut. Erin dropped the sherbet in a hole in the couch.
"Not yet."

"You want to go to the party!" Cupid accused and waved a finger at him. Erin
grabbed it and squeezed.
"Damn right I do!" he frowned and quirked an eyebrow.
"Don't you?" Cupid didn't answer that on the grounds that it would
definitely incriminate him.

---

Cupid and Erin slid out from behind the blood red curtains and wavered for a
minute in the utter darkness of the balcony. It had involved a lot of
squeezing through small spaces, some silent standing still and some hastily
put together invisibility which probably wouldn't have fooled Apollo if he
hadn't smelled one hundred and fifty percent proof. In fact Cupid was
willing to bet he could have looked straight at them and not known who they
were, drunk people acted like that.

"What happens if we get caught?" Cupid whispered. Erin dragged him down to
hands and knees and they very slowly edged towards the bars where the
banister curled round the top of the room. They both froze as two muses
swished by not ten feet from them, wearing nothing at all.

"Oh Zeus," Erin clapped a hand over Cupid's mouth, straddled his back, then
leant in until he could hiss in his ear.
"You wanna get us caught?" Cupid shook his head furiously. They both
carefully slithered forward across the floor until they could see over the
balcony. Where Cupid had a panoramic view of more naked people than he'd
seen in his entire life. Smack bang in the middle of it was his Mom, equally
naked. He squeaked, Erin was completely silent.

Cupid waited a beat, then slid his eyes over to Erin, who'd gone very still.

"Erin?"
"Hmm"
"Are you looking at my Mom?"
"Uh huh"
"Well don't" Not that he was all that comfortable seeing his Mom naked. Sure
she did it all the time but that didn't mean he wanted to look. Then his
eyes widened, he made a horrible choking noise and tucked his face behind
Erin's neck.
"I didn't see that!" he groaned
"I so didn't see that."

"I see it." Erin muttered. Cupid glared into Erin's neck.
"Erin do not watch my Mom give head!" Cupid hissed as loudly as he thought
he would get away with, and that was way up on the list of things he never
thought he'd say.
"Too late," Erin said very quietly. Cupid shuddered,
"Erin stop watching my Mom it's creepy."

"Watch someone else instead!" Erin sniggered.
"You're telling me to watch someone have sex? Who?" Cupid peered out far
enough to see Erin's ear.
"I don't know just someone away from my Mom." Because dammit he did not want
to see his Mom do anything other than laugh or complain about her wardrobe.

Erin's head moved slowly, then he cringed and looked down.
"Oh shit!"
"What?" that didn't sound like a good 'oh shit'.
"I just found your Dad." Cupid dug his fingers into Erin's back until he
flinched.
"Someone else!"
"Zeus that was scary!" Erin's head went up again, twisted, then froze, Cupid
heard him make a small noise.
"Oh" Cupid stayed behind his neck.
"What."

"Hecate, three O'clock." Cupid cautiously lifted his head, swung it. There
she was and incidentally she was naked too. Though he could only see her
shoulders because Hermes was curled in Hecate's lap, her purple hair
trailing along his arms, Cupid would have really liked Hermes to move,
Hecate naked would have been a million times nicer than his Mom. Cupid was
quiet for a minute, watching, you couldn't have sex in that position surely.
"What is she doing?" Erin tilted his head very slowly.

"I'm not sure, but Hermes really likes it." Then Hermes flinched and both of
them jumped. Hecate laughed and you could hear it from here. Then her hand
appeared and trailed what she held slowly down Hermes back. Cupid went
bright red and flipped his head round.

Immediately found something more interesting. Artemis, long lithe and
perfect pressing her sister Hebe against the couch, one hand holding her
neck up and the other pinning a thigh down. Cupid reached sideways, grabbed
Erin's chin and canted it in that direction. Cupid swallowed and was very
aware that some instinct inside him, previously dormant, was yawning and
cracking it's knuckles.

Erin froze where he put him.
"Oh Zeus" Cupid would agree but his mouth wouldn't open, or close.
Especially when Artemis slid lower and Hebe started making little hitchy
breathy sounds. She slid lower still and Cupid felt the side of his head
bump Erin's, metal scratched against his cheek but he didn't move it as they
both swayed closer to the bars.

Artemis head disappeared between Hebe's thighs and Erin made a very small
noise. They watched in almost total silence for the next few minutes until
Hebe was shuddering. Cupid swallowed a few times, pried his fingertips out
of the marble and stopped looking at anything until he could think again,
then said very quietly in a voice that was more breathless squeak than
words.

"How the hell am I supposed to look at her again, ever." Erin just shook his
head next to him.
"I mean she's...I'm gonna be picturing her naked forever...doing that!"
Cupid stopped because talking about it was almost as bad as watching. Erin
gave another shaky little head movement. He apparently hadn't found his
voice yet.

Cupid blinked and looked around the room. He was stopped by shaking fingers
on his chin which dragged his head none too gently across to a couch in the
corner of the room.

He tried to focus, a women with long black hair was straddling Bacchus and
oh gods Cupid thought he was scary with clothes on! She was incredibly
graceful and she flexed like a cat, the planes of her back shifting under
the hair when she moved. Yes this was definitely worth watching.

"Who's the Goddess?" he whispered.
"Not a Goddess." Erin whispered back. Cupid blinked, tilted his head,
Bacchus helpfully chose that moment to snatch handfuls of that hair in his
fingers and drag the head down for a kiss.
"Tell me that isn't Phonos?" Erin tried to nod and shake at the same time,
gave up.
"I thought he had short hair?" Erin blinked.
"Apparently not when he's being..." Erin went red and gave up. Cupid could
feel his mouth opening and he hoped to Zeus something intelligent was going
to come out of it.

"Bacchus is umm...shouldn't that..." Cupid was loathe to speculate, but the
parts of his brain which weren't growling in approval, were curious.
"Hurt?" Erin said flatly, though there was a slight tremor to the word.
"Uh huh" More speculative silence, then Cupid tilted his head and considered
them for a minute.

"Phonos is sort of..." Erin was quiet for a minute, then offered over.
"Pretty?" Cupid nodded, watched Erin's face out of the corner of his eye.
"Yeah"
"Especially with the hair." Erin was going even redder.
"How am I supposed to let him kick my arse now?" Cupid stared at him, then
dropped his head into Erin's armpit and sniggered.
"Not funny." Erin mumbled. Cupid was too busy trying not to make any noise
to offer another comment.

"Zeus," Erin muttered in horror.
"I know," Cupid agreed in mufflement.
"No, Zeus!" Erin hissed and shuddered. Cupid unconsciously moved his head
up, choked and looked away.
"Oh Hades, I really didn't want to see that!"
"Who was that?" Erin still had his eyes shut.
"I think 'what' was that would be more appropriate." Cupid hurriedly looked
for something else to look at. Erin went back to watching Phonos in red
faced bafflement.

He found Apollo and Morpheus locked so close together they could have been
one being. Though Cupid had to watch for a minute to confirm who was inside
who. He skipped over his dad with a shudder of panic. He found Nike and
Helios apparently trying to drown each other in the ornamental pond and have
sex at the same time. Which seemed sort of odd because they were laughing
and it looked like they were having fun more than anything else. Cupid
hadn't thought you could have fun and have sex at the same time.

That was one of the less bizarre things he'd seen as his eyes swept over the
crowd. Then again if they snuck across to the other balcony they'd be able
to see the room better anyway.

He nudged Erin, then he nudged him again. Erin's head swayed towards him,
eyes following a second later. Cupid inclined his head.
"You can see better from the other balcony." Erin blinked.
"You wanna go right now?" Cupid nodded. Erin peered across at him.
"You first." Cupid shrugged, went to slide to his knees. Then realised
something. He was wearing leather pants and he was in no fit state to stand
up or walk around. Very carefully he slid back down to the floor again. Erin
was grinning at him.

"Changed your mind?" Cupid went red.

---

Erin had to admit it was a good idea to slither around to the other balcony
but there was no way he could move from this position without seriously
embarrassing himself. Of course he could have been helpful and told Cupe to
just watch Zeus for a second with his 'thing', because that was guaranteed
to frighten any parts of his body which couldn't behave properly.

Watching your grandfather have sex with...something, well anything was
enough to give you nightmares. Though ok watching your grandmother
umm...take care of herself, oddly not so frightening. Though he wasn't going
to mention that to Cupid, who'd buried his head in his arms and was peering
over the top of them every now and again and making odd noises.

His eyes drifted over to Hecate who was now sitting with her legs crossed
against one of the marble pillars. Hermes was sprawled over them with his
eyes closed, though since Hecate's hands were pretty much everywhere Erin
would bet a million dinars he wasn't asleep. Well Erin couldn't have slept
through that anyway.

Bacchus and Phonos had changed position, but he wasn't going to look at that
because otherwise he wouldn't be able to move from the floor ever, he'd have
to stay there until...he realised he was looking anyway, and his fingers
were digging into the marble, flaking up little chips and he could feel one
of the pins in his pants digging into his hipbone, not an unpleasant
sensation but he definately wasn't going to get friendly with the floor
while Cupid was an inch away.

He shook his head and peered over the edge of the balcony. Nike had
apparently conceded for once in her life because Helios had her bent over
one of the water spouts. She didn't seem to mind, she was giggling. He
didn't think he'd ever seen Nike giggle.

He watched them and wondered vaguely whether your entire body was supposed
to sort of thud, like this, he'd have to remember to ask Aphrodite, though
not now, because she was...occupied.

He knew one thing for certain, he wasn't sure he could look at any member of
his family the same way again.



Title: Growing Up 19: Identification Required II
Author: Corona
Rating: R
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/f, S/f Heavy Insinuation only.
Warning: Insinuation of scary het stuff, run and hide, run and hide!
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: The boys are caught, which isn't quite as frightening as it first
appears!


Erin sidled round the doorway to Apollo's temple. Cupid stayed back, stood
very quietly, playing look out.
They'd both decided sneaking back before someone found them was probably a
good idea and since the hallways this side of Olympus were mostly filled
with drunken and lecherous traffic, through Apollo's temple was the route
that wouldn't get them seen.

The big golden room was empty, thank Zeus, and Erin grabbed Cupid by an
elbow and tugged him inside. Cupid bumped the door shut after them with a
hip.
"Through the music room and out the window, we can climb down to the gardens
from there." Which definitely sounded good, because sneaking was fine in
theory, in practice it sucked. There was always the possibility of someone
appearing from nowhere and looking at them like they were so dead when they
got home.

Erin stopped and Cupid thumped into his back, stifled the surprised noise
that would have jumped out. That was another thing about sneaky, every
little movement and sound scared the pants off of you. Erin lifted a hand
and laid it on the door handle, pulled down, then pushed the door open a
crack.

Cupid waited, listening to his breathing in the pause.
"It's empty," Erin offered. Cupid's sighed loudly and let his head fall back
against the doorframe.
"Thank you!" Both of them stepped through. Walked straight into someone
solid. Cupid fell on his arse, Erin, slightly more co-ordinated, wobbled,
then stood staring.

Three muses, hands on hips peered curiously down at them.
"Calliope honey, you wanna come see what we found?"

---

Terpsichore laid long hands on her hips. Erato was grinning, Clio was
considering them like bugs. They were in so much trouble, Erin decided. This
would definitely get back to Dite, who would tell Ares and he was lucky if
he'd get fed for week, this may even involve being locked in his room, or
worse.

The tallest muse pushed between her sister and raised a delicate eyebrow.
"Oh my, what have we here." Cupid made a squeaky noise, which didn't quite
give off the nonchalant air Erin was hoping for, so much for pleading
ignorance and pretending to be lost. Oddly enough he couldn't have made up a
good story if his life depended on it, not when they were being looked at so
intently.

Another two figures had swished in from the back and were also looking at
them, especially the tall dark one, Melpomene. They were technically
surrounded and Erin wasn't sure how you went about escaping from a temple
full of muses. Ok so they didn't look dangerous but you never knew and they
weren't exactly allowed to be on this side of Olympus tonight.

"We were leaving." Erin offered very quietly.
"We were going through the music room." Melpomene leant towards Calliope and
whispered something in her ear. Calliope grinned, Erato nudged Terpsichore,
and she grinned too. It was like the muses had their own private language.

"Oh you don't have to do that," Calliope offered quietly.
"We've retired for the night, come have a drink with us." Then, as one, all
the muses turned and swished into the music room.

Cupid and Erin stared after them.
"Are they planning something?" Erin said carefully. Cupid shook his head. Of
course if Cupid and Erin hared off down the corridor and the muses weren't
planning anything painful they'd most definitely regret it.

"I'm not allowed to drink until I'm twenty." Cupid offered quietly.
"Neither am I." Erin pointed out.
"But I don't really think they'd let us, I think that was a lure to get us
in the room." Cupid was quiet for a minute, then his hand wrapped round
Erin's wrist.
"Why would they want us in the room?" Erin swallowed.

"Well they're either gonna sit us down and give us a really long lecture
or..." Cupid blinked.
"Or?" Erin's head rolled round on his shoulders and he gave Cupid a very
pointed look.

Twenty seconds later they stepped through the doors.

Erato and Terpsichore had sat down, Clio was lounged on a seat while Euterpe
gave her a foot massage. Thalia was doing Polyhymnia's hair Urania had
sprawled on floor, bare feet flicking back and forth. Melpomene stood next
to Calliope, they were whispering quietly.

"Ooh company, brave boys," Thalia offered, then laughed.
"Hush" Calliope said gently and beckoned with a finger. Cupid and Erin
slowly went forward.
"Are we in trouble?" Erin offered quietly and he felt Cupid sigh in relief
that one of them had asked. Polyhymnia laughed until Thalia pushed her head
back down.

"No, the muses tattle on no one, we have our pride after all." Erato
muttered something that only Terpsichore heard, but it made her look at
Cupid and raise an eyebrow.
"Really, how precious." Calliope ignored her.
"I think just about everyone goes for a peek before they're quite old
enough." She admitted with a smile and shrugged,
"We sort of watch for them." Thalia burst out laughing and her sisters gave
her a look which clearly said 'shut up.'

---

"We thought you'd be..." Erin shifted in his chair. Calliope laughed and
gestured towards the main halls. Erin nodded, Cupid went very red in the
chair next to him.
"Oh yes, we were bumped over for Morpheus tonight." Melpomene said softly.
"Not that that isn't understandable." Polyhymnia muttered from where she was
lounged in Euterpe's lap.
"Why pass up someone who can be absolutely anything you want just because of
a thousand years of loyalty." Erato prodded her and she went quiet.

"What about you Erin what do you do?" Melpomene said softly. Erin shifted in
the chair, shrugged.
"Phonos is teaching me how to fight, other than that I'm pretty much running
around after Ares." He set the drink that Erato had given him down, which
had turned out to not be alcohol at all but something which steamed
suspiciously. Cupid was sat next to him, peering at everyone, more worried
than fascinated.

"Cupid's the one who's got responsibilities, he got his Godhood first." All
eyes swished towards Cupid. He didn't know whether to thank Erin or hit him.
"He's going to be love." Hit him, definitely hit him. Calliope's eyebrows
tilted.
"How marvellous, I'm sure he'll be perfect." Melpomene leant into her sister
and whispered something. Calliope smiled,
"Why not."

The two tallest muses stepped forward and considered them both.
Melpomene laid a hand on Erin's shoulder.
"You come talk to me pet, let's be friendly hmm?" Cupid's eyes widened as
Erin, after a pause to grab his sleeve and fling a look Cupid's way,
followed the muse. Typical, if you showed him a bottomless pit he'd jump in
with both feet just to prove you wrong.

Cupid was left alone with eight muses, all of which were giving him looks
ranging from ones he quite liked levelled at him, to scary gazes which
promised if they had him alone they'd want cutlery.

Calliope appeared at his side.
"Don't worry so honey, Calliope will give you a tour." She took his drink
from him and looped a long arm round Cupid's, tugged him gently but
insistently in the direction Erin had gone.

---

They ended up in a bedroom carved in mahogany and gold.
"This is my little corner of the universe," Calliope offered and swung her
arms out.
"Do you like it?" Cupid nodded, he'd speak as soon as he could do it without
squeaking.

Calliope lifted a harp off of a chair and settled it on the floor, gestured
for Cupid to sit.
"I'll bet your mother doesn't know you're here?" Calliope's head tilted.
"Or does she?" Cupid shook his head mutely and sank into the chair.
"No she'd pretty much...spaz." Calliope grinned at the term.

"That she would." She laid a warm hand against his cheek. Cupid stiffened a
little, swivelled his eyes. Calliope moved the hand, slid two fingers under
his chin, tilted it, breathed against his jaw. Perfectly ordinary movements
which for some reason were making him swallow convulsively and try to
remember his own name.
"This your first time honey?" Cupid went red, tried to swallow, felt about
seven, he managed a nod while still looking at her. Calliope looked
surprised, then smiled.
"Then I'm honoured" she curtsied and Cupid blushed harder.

Then she smirked at him, actually smirked, and in a single movement, just a
flick of her hand, the dress wasn't fastened anymore. It parted and fell,
swished in a graceful arc all the way to the floor.

Cupid blinked, was she really...? She couldn't be surely. She was naked
though, completely and totally bereft of any clothes at all. Talking would
be good now, he had to say something, anything.

Calliope laid both hands on his bare chest and he gasped, pressed into the
contact completely on instinct. She leant forward until her mouth was level
with his ear.
"This is the part where you kiss me."



---

Erin noticed that Melpomene had wandered into an empty bedroom, noticed but
didn't say anything. She turned around, pushed the door shut behind him.
Erin wasn't stupid, the possibility of something happening in this room was
enough to startle all of his brain cells into temporary hibernation.

Melpomene turned slid closer to him. Trailed a fingernail across his mouth.
Erin fought the urge to lean forward, swallowed instead.

"My sisters they're like the fates with a sex drive, very cryptic, they'll
play games with anyone. Me however, I prefer my decisions to be made on the
evidence available." Melpomene looked him up and down, flashed him a grin
and lifted a hand.
"I like these, did Janus do them?" Erin nodded gently as Melpomene ran her
hand down his ear.

"Very fetching, I have some myself, though Apollo always bitches when they
scratch him, he can be a baby sometimes." Erin cautiously sent his eyes
across her frame, wondering what on earth she had pierced and if she'd show
him. Melpomene grinned and Erin spent a frantic second wondering if his mind
was being read.

"Are you normally this quiet?" Erin shook his head. No he was just
completely lost for words. Melpomene grinned again and Erin decided he was
just going to stop thinking anything and just stare until the inevitable
moment were someone came in and dragged him out by his ear.

Melpomene raised an eyebrow, smiled.
"So if I was to ask if you wanted to have sex with me, what would you do?"
Erin blinked, then took hold of Melpomene's arms pulled her forward and
kissed her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Cupid watched Calliope fix her hair against the headboard, sheet fluttering
delicately just above her breasts as her arms stretched, she had a lot of
hair and was currently twisting and pinning it back up in sections. Every so
often she'd turn her head and smile at him.

He wanted to say several things, none of which would come out right, which
would probably kill the possibility that Calliope would like to do that
again. One of her hands dropped and slid into his hair and even that was
nice. She was still smiling at him, which had to be a good sign, 'that was a
good sign right, when someone you'd slept with smiled at you?'

//Cupid!// There was nothing like your Mom yelling in your head to kill an
erection stone dead. It didn't help that he promptly slithered off the bed
and fell in a tangle of sheet and nakedness.

"Oh my Gods!" He sprung upwards, hit the bed and fell on it.
"What's wrong honey?" Calliope offered quietly.
"My Mom!" Cupid offered simply. Calliope made a noise and waved a hand,
laughing quietly.
"Go on Honey, I won't be insulted if you run like Cerberus was after you."
Cupid gave her a brief relieved look, turned, then turned back.

He paused, blushed furiously, then wiggled back up the bed to plant a shy
yet furious kiss on Calliope's smiling mouth.
"Thank you" then he rolled back down the bed and desperately tried to find
his trousers, it was too dark and his hands had briefly forgotten how to
deal with normal things.

---

Melpomene twined a black spike of hair between two fingers and smiled down
at the God who was blinking sleepily against her shoulder, one hand flung
over his head the other curled tentatively round her waist.

//Erin! We have to go and we have to go now!!//

Erin swayed upright, whacking his forehead on the metal headboard on the
way.
"Ow, damn Cupid, thank you so much!" Melpomene laughed at him.
//We're gonna have company unless you move your arse now Erin!// The amount
of panic suggested it was one of his parents, either prospect wasn't pretty.
He struggled out from under the sheet, pausing only to watch as Melpomene
twisted it underneath her armpits.

"You..." he couldn't think of a word, but she tugged him back by his hair,
which was a glorious sharp pain, and kissed him hard so she probably got the
message.

---


"Shit!" Cupid desperately tried to wiggle into the item of clothing he'd
yanked off the floor, realised it was Calliope's skirt, growled and tugged
it all the way because he was never going to find anything else in the dark.

He limped across the corridor, the door flying open hit him in the face.
"Ow shit Ow!" he caught a brief glimpse of a half naked Erin before he was
grabbed and half dragged across the corridor by a wing.
"Shit!" he hit a wall on the way, moaned quietly, was swung out into the
main temple.

"Is it your Dad?"
"Worse it's my Mom" Erin skidded them round a corner and they both hit the
wall and collided with each other, ended up on the floor, breathless and
trying not to grin. Erin looked at him, gave a slightly hysterical giggle.
Cupid looked down and realised Calliope's skirt was slightly too long but
due to the laws of physics was now bunched in his lap.
"Why are you wearing yellow chiffon?" Cupid slapped him on the shoulder,
then pulled himself to his feet and tugged Erin up with him.
"Do something!" Erin tugged his pants up and pulled the laces tight. Cupid
pulled the skirt up in both hands and tied it in a knot at his hip.

Erin veered sideways and leant out of the window, eased backwards and threw
a leg over the balcony.
"What the Tartarus are you doing!?" Erin threw a desperate glance towards
the temple doors, then looked down.
"The Pond's under this window."
"Zeus are you sure?"
"Uh huh" Erin was already swinging his leg over and teetering on the edge.
"Erin you're insane!" Cupid carefully straddled the balcony himself.
"That's what they tell me." Erin slung an arm through Cupid's.
"Bad idea." Cupid stated emphatically and then they jumped.

---


Aphrodite, in all her naked glory, flung open the doors and stood on the
threshold, eyes narrowed. Calliope and Clio looked up from their tapestry,
raised eyebrows. Aphrodite narrowed her eyes even further at them. They
looked as innocent as the day Aphrodite was born. She wasn't surprised,
they'd had a lot of practice.

"Girls?" They looked up expectantly, polite questioning looks on their
faces. Aphrodite wasn't convinced.
"Have you seen my son?" Calliope gently shook her head, Clio copied the
movement Melpomene and Erato looked equally non-plussed.
"I didn't think he was allowed here yet?" Terpsichore offered.

Aphrodite looked them over carefully.
"Well he's only sixteen," she watched Calliope very carefully, not even a
twitch. Oh she was good, she was real good. Her eyes slid across the other
muses, who looked nothing but perfectly dressed and completely composed.
"Erin?" More blinks and careful headshakes. Aphrodite swirled into the room
and stood over them.

"Well that is a surprise." She said softly. Calliope carefully did some
tapestry while still looking at Aphrodite. The Goddess of Love sent her a
cool look and wandered over the other half of the temple. Which was empty
and tidy.

Aphrodite stopped dead, raised her eyes. Watched a single white feather
float gently towards the floor, spinning and drifting in the breeze from the
open window. When she was completely sure that none of the muses could see
her, she smiled.

---

Cupid wrung water out of Calliope's skirt and flung it over the windowsill.
"I think I pretty much trashed it." He said quietly, trying to lay the
material straight.
"I don't think it was meant to get wet, it's gone all funny." Erin laughed
and peered over his shoulder. He leant back far enough to shake his pants,
spraying pond water everywhere. Cupid put an arm up and wandered over to
where he'd flung two clean pairs of pants, he tossed Erin the other pair.

Erin wobbled into them, though the laces didn't lay straight since he was a
good deal thinner around the waist. Then he flopped barefoot back over to
the window to slouch against Cupid's side.
"You're right, it's dead, you killed it." Erin giggled and laid his chin on
Cupid's shoulder.

"I cannot believe we did that." Cupid stared at the skirt draped over the
wood and grinned at it.
"Mom's gonna-" Erin slid a hand over Cupid's mouth.
"Not find out." Cupid mumbled something.
"She won't know, it's not like you have it printed on your forehead." A
pause and Cupid mumbled something else.
"You're right that would suck." Erin pulled his hand away, but stayed on his
shoulder.



Title: Growing Up 20: Nothing but Grey
Author: Corona
Rating: R
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: swearing, violence.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Not your typical morning after. Cupid gets cornered by a familiar
face, but this time he's not quite alone.


Cupid stepped out of his temple and looked around. The halls were pretty
much empty, everyone was either sleeping it off or still...doing it. Which
meant he probably had just enough time to get to his dad's temple and pick
up Erin before he had to face anyone he'd seen in a compromising position.
Though Erin was probably up already, hiding from Ares. Cupid almost never
showed his face before the sun rose.

Maybe being up this early had something to do with Calliope, what would she
be doing now anyway? Did she get up early too, was she thinking about him,
or maybe she was asleep, or in bed with his Uncle which seemed...a little
gross. He didn't really know what she'd be doing.

He didn't know what she liked to eat or what she did or what her favourite
colour was or anything. In fact he didn't know much about Calliope at all
apart from the fact that she was beautiful and she made odd little hitchy
noises when you...Cupid blinked, anyway since Erin would be up already he
was taking advantage of everyone else being generally comatose to work out
why exactly his Mom had sensed him in Apollo's temple.

Then, if it seemed possible that she'd come looking for him, make up a good
lie, which he'd leave to Erin. Then he'd been careful to keep his mouth shut
because Erin could lie way better than him. All his Mom had to do was raise
her eyebrow, put her hands on her hips and tap her foot, he was totally lost
when she did that.

It was sort of nice though, having this much space all to himself, footsteps
echoing along the corridor. Maybe he'd get up early more often, you could
drive a chariot along here without hitting anyone! He swung round the corner
and came face to face with Triton.

He froze, wondering if he could sprint back the way he'd come. Triton must
have seen him thinking about it, he bumped away from the wall and grinned
down at him.
"Hello little bird." Cupid tensed.
"Don't call me that," Triton stepped closer and Cupid decided he wasn't
going to put up with this, he was going to yell or hit Triton or something.
He wasn't going to stand here and be stupid this time. Or he could ignore
him altogether, it would serve him right for being an asshole.

"Don't talk to me," he offered and tried to step round him. Triton grabbed
his arm and Cupid shook it violently until Triton released him with a laugh.
He stepped past Triton, amazed at what he'd done. He exhaled gently and
started to slowly walk, aware of Triton still standing behind him, unmoving,
the sheer unexpectedness of the stance slowed Cupid's feet down.

"Suit yourself. I might just pay your little friend a visit, see what he
tastes like. I hear he's used to being smacked around." Cupid swivelled,
raised an arm and swung it, intending to smack Triton in the face. Triton
caught it and jerked Cupid forward.
"I think you're still a little confused over who hits who in this
relationship."
"We don't have a relationship." Cupid hissed through clenched teeth.
"If you go near Erin I'll-
"What? Hurt me, oh please you're like sixteen, what the fuck are you gonna
do to me." Triton tilted his head and Cupid fought a strong urge to spit at
him.

"Maybe Erin 'would' like a visit." Cupid twisted his wrist around.
"You wouldn't dare!"
Triton snatched both Cupid's arms up and dragged him forward.
"I must admit, I was tempted but then I saw you and if possible you're even
more delicious than last time."
"Let go of me." Cupid said very slowly, his arms flexed in Triton's grip, he
winced when the fingers tightened.
"Come on kid, just a little taste, share why don't ya, just like last time."
Cupid leant back away from the smile.

"If you touch me I'll tell my dad." Triton's smile flipped even bigger.
"And I'll tell him you were asking for it." Cupid's mouth dropped open.
Triton shook him sharply, then raised a hand to grip his jaw and pull his
head forward.
"But I wouldn't be very happy, I might be tempted to smash up the other side
of your face."

Cupid felt a rush of rage that nearly knocked him off his feet and it wasn't
coming from Triton. His head whipped sideways, and he wrenched out of
Triton's grip.

Erin was stood by the corner pillar, Triton tilted his head to one side,
smirked, then let loose a chuckle.
"Cupe, you didn't tell your boyfriend about us, I'm hurt."

"You bastard!" Cupid had never seen anyone punch that fast. Triton's head
snapped backwards and this time there was blood, a thick line of it which
slapped Tritons jaw.

Triton gasped, fingers lifting to touch his face gingerly, his eyes slid to
Erin and he glared. Erin glared back, fists clenched at his side, eyes
narrowed.
"You little shit?" Triton spat.

Triton pulled back, hit him with a closed fist. Cupid flinched as Erin's
head snapped back, rocked on his neck. Cupid froze, waiting for the
inevitable from a blow that powerful, if Erin went down Triton wasn't
getting another shot at him. But Erin didn't go down. His head slowly
lowered to it's original position.

A slow trickle of blood appeared on his upper lip, hung there, then dropped.

Erin swung a hand out and shoved Cupid out of the way.

Erin and Triton went down hard, leather squeaked as Triton was squashed
against the floor, rolled and tried to get his knee up into Erin's stomach.
The blow hit, Erin grunted but didn't flinch. Instead his head snapped
forward and Triton's nose crunched, blood appearing like magic on the lower
half of his face.

Cupid dropped to his knees on a gasp. Erin shouldn't have been able to do
that, he shouldn't have been able to make Triton bleed, he shouldn't be-

Erin's back smashed into one of the pillars as they rolled and the stone
shattered, an overstretched punch hit the marble and it cracked, flowerlike,
splinters flying upwards. Triton jerked his head sideways, gaze drifting to
the marble and for the very first time he looked frightened, because now,
they were even.

Erin untangled an arm and took advantage of it, smashing Triton's face into
the marble, splattering blood around his head in an arc.

'Oh Zeus' they weren't even anymore, because Erin was ignoring every blow
Triton landed and he was healing, Triton wasn't. Cupid didn't have a clue
what to do.

He didn't even know if Triton was hurting Erin, if he was Erin would never
let it show. Cupid wasn't worried about Erin though because his fist swung
up and crashed down against Triton's cheekbone, the skin vibrated and sank.
Cupid held onto his stomach, just.

Triton's arm flailed, hand reaching up to tangle in Erin's hair and yank his
head back. In retaliation Erin slid his hand into Triton's collar and
twisted hard, the sea God gurgled and there was a faint crunch, then the
hand slid from Erin's hair to slap against the floor.

The scene wobbled and there was an odd rushing in Cupid's ears. Triton
wasn't going to struggle anymore, his eyes were rolling up in his head.
Cupid stepped forward.

That had to be enough, because Erin's punches were just making horrific
thick sounds now. Cupid slipped in wet redness, went down to his knees
behind Erin and gripped hold of his shoulders.
"Erin that's enough, Erin stop."

He wouldn't stop and there was blood everywhere.

"Erin, Erin, Erin for Zeus' sake stop!" Cupid pulled on Erin's shoulders
hands slipping on leather with every pull back of his fist. Cupid was
certain he was going to throw up because this was horrible now and Triton
certainly didn't deserve to look like that.

Erin's other hand was tangling in Tritons collar sending his throat a
violent white flecked with blue, Cupid couldn't breath, looped his hands
round Erin's shoulders and tried to yank him free. He couldn't move him,
couldn't even sway him backwards, it was like pulling on a statue.
"Erin don't do this, that's enough, Erin you're gonna kill him or
something." Cupid could feel his voice getting higher and yes this was
hysterical, and please Gods Erin please stop.

"Do you have any idea what my Mom would do to you. You son of a fucking
bitch!" Erin's hand tangled tighter and he shook the fraying collar where it
sliced Triton's neck in a thick line.

"Tartarus Erin look what you're doing!"

Zeus, Erin was going to break something because there was blood everywhere.
Cupid didn't know how to stop him because he wouldn't stop, why wouldn't he
stop. His mouth was opening and closing desperately and he knew what would
come out, was powerless to stop it.

"Strife for Zeus sake stop!"

Erin froze, fist raised. His back went rigid, shoulder blades curling, even
the earrings he wore had stopped jangling.



Title: Growing Up 21: Personal Growth
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: bad language, threats.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: The boys do some talking, some of which is long overdue and some of
which is new. A ton of conflicting emotions and some surprises.


Cupid stared at the white wall, eyes sliding back every so often to watch
his father pace. Great now his parents knew, he'd told them both, he'd had
to, because otherwise he was afraid Erin would get in trouble, you didn't
just beat the hell out of someone because you felt like it.

Aphrodite was talking very quietly to Asclepius. Cupid had absolutely no
reason to be here but Ares had made him sit down anyway. His father didn't
look happy and Cupid had a momentary flicker of unease that he was being
viewed as a son who couldn't take care of himself.

He stopped looking when his Mom sat down next to him. He blinked up at her.
He wondered if she was going to hug him again, the strong faintly angry hugs
she'd been giving him since he told her. They were creepy but not completely
horrible. Aphrodite sighed, tugged Cupid over until his head leant on her
shoulder, her hand spread through his hair, stroked it.
"Well I've convinced your father not to splatter Triton into tiny pieces,
since Erin did such a good job of it already." Her mouth pulled into the
strangest little expression which he was more used to seeing his dad wear.

"I take it you told Erin what he tried to do?" Cupid very slowly shook his
head. Aphrodite's hand stilled in his hair.
"No, he heard some stuff Triton said though." Cupid's eyes flipped up.
"Erin's not in trouble for this is he?" Aphrodite very carefully raised
Cupid's head.
"No, he's not, if you hadn't stopped him he would have been, but Ares is
going to have words with Poseidon and that will be the end of it." Cupid
rolled his forehead round on her shoulder, thank Zeus.

"Your father wants to talk to you though." Cupid closed his eyes, groaned.
"Is he pissed at me?" Aphrodite blinked down at him.
"Oh for Zeus' sake Cupid, why on earth would you think that?" Cupid
shrugged, unwilling to share even half the stuff that was whizzing through
his head, and he knew his Mom wouldn't reach up and yank it out.

He was really uncomfortable and he'd much rather just leave. Oh but now it
was too late because the huge looming presence of the Father of War was
standing over him and Cupid would have quite liked to pull both his wings
over his head and hide. Aphrodite stood up, gave his shoulder a brief
squeeze and backed off.

Ares sat down, frowned at him for a minute, Cupid could see his teeth
clenching and unclenching through his cheek and the vein in his temple was
standing out. He looked liked he was trying to think of something to say and
'please just get it over with so I can get out of here.'

"I'm your father." Ares started very calmly, considering the way his temple
was twitching.
"I always will be, we could have this talk now or a century from now, I'm
sure you'd like that since you've become so good at neglecting to mention
thing. Considering my current mood I'll say something I shouldn't, and it's
quite clear you'd rather be a hundred miles away." Cupid blinked at his
father, a faint flicker of relief waiting to spring up inside him. Ares eyes
narrowed.

"Oh never fear we will have this conversation, but not today, no today I'm
going to go out and make a lot of mortals wish they'd never been born. I
remind you again though, I am your father and if anyone comes near you in an
inappropriate manner ever again I will personally tear out their intestinal
tract and strangle the life out of them with it, are we clear?" Cupid
nodded, slightly wide eyed. Ares nodded back then clasped the back of
Cupid's head in a large hand and squeezed.
"Good."

Ares released him abruptly eyes flicking across the room, watching Aphrodite
talk to Asclepius again.
"Now stop sitting there like someone cut off your left leg and go find
Erin."

---

Cupid found him in the garden, sitting by the pond, glaring at the ducks and
generally looking unwelcoming.

"Hi," Erin looked up, squinted into the sun.
"Hey," he shuffled over so Cupid could sit down, which he did.

"Are you ok?" Cupid offered, Erin twisted his head until he could look at
him. Cupid went on before he could answer.
"You're not in trouble, Dad fixed it, you won't be punished or anything,
it's ok I mean, if you're worried." Erin shook his head gently.
"But thanks." Cupid pushed his toes into the dirt, at a loss to start a
conversation. He was terrified there'd be a fight, he didn't want to fight
with Erin.

Erin was quiet for a long time.
"Why didn't you tell me about him?" Cupid folded his hands over his knees.
Erin had started the conversation for him and it was just like Erin to
plunge in and ask what needed to be asked.
"I was thinking about it, I was going to." Erin leant back, hands flat in
the grass.
"You lied, you said you got in a fight." Cupid wouldn't look at him. Erin
stared at him for a long time.
"You didn't...?" That was all Erin got out. He shook his head and started
again.

"I had no idea what was going on, so I just sort of stood there and let him
say all those shitty things about you." Cupid still wasn't looking at him.
"It didn't matter."
"I mean I didn't know if you two had a thing or not." Cupid cringed
unwilling to even consider that.
"We didn't have a thing Erin, not even close." Cupid looked away. Erin
lifted an arm and tugged on Cupid's shoulders until he faced him.
"Cupe what the hell happened between you."

Cupid told him.

Erin sucked air through his teeth and stared at the pond for a long time.
Cupid stared at the grass, glared at it when it started to blur. 'Say
something Erin please,' Erin didn't though, he just glared at the water,
completely still.

Cupid pulled a hand over his eyes and only then did Erin slide an arm around
his shoulders and pull his head up underneath his chin.

"We're supposed to deal with the fucked up stuff together remember." Erin
said quietly. Cupid closed his eyes against Erin's throat.
"We're not supposed to let anything screw us up, you're the one that told me
that." Cupid breathed quietly and listened, nodded very slowly.

"Remember when you came to rescue me, you remember that. I'd been so
seriously smashed up and I was terrified that you hated me and you wouldn't
ever come back, that I was gonna be all alone again. And you flashed in so
close you knocked me over and decided you'd come to rescue me, do you
remember that." Erin stopped when Cupid swallowed hard and nodded.

"Remember when you taught me how to run from the Peacocks huh, and you were
all in my face and screaming and I didn't have a clue what was going on."
Cupid grinned where he couldn't be seen.
"You made me climb that really high fence and I was scared to death and you
wanted to go back and do it again the next week even with Hera glaring at us
like she knew and everything." Cupid snorted laughter against Erin's neck.
Erin chuckled and Cupid felt it through his chest.

"Remember when I moved into Ares temple and you were all excited and you sat
on the chair and trashed it." Cupid nodded.
"I'd had that chair forever and I'd fixed it about a million times, it never
moved and it almost never got sat on, it was just there, and you sat on it
and smashed it into a hundred pieces." Cupid groaned.
"Uh huh." Erin snorted.
"I was so glad you did that." Cupid laughed and shook his head, then looked
up.

"When I fell out of the tree," Cupid offered very softly.
"I fell and I was scared to death and you wouldn't let me go, you would have
fallen with me." Erin grinned into his hair.
"Damn right I would." Erin took a deep breath.

"See that's us, people can't screw us over if we're together, I figured that
out a long time ago. I know you can't fight, but you'll never run away,
you're just there whenever I need you, I don't know how you do it but you
do. It's like you know when I need you." Erin paused and sighed against
Cupid's hair.

"I feel like the biggest shit Cupe, cos you didn't tell me and I didn't
know. I should've known just like you do, dammit you should have told me."
Erin went quiet again, hands tightening briefly round Cupid's arms, Cupid
nodded and the hands relaxed.
"But that can wait, cos there's something that ain't getting through to
you."
"Erin?"
"Be quiet a minute." Erin's chin shifted in Cupid's hair.
"I'm gonna say this once and you're gonna trust me on it, ok." Cupid nodded,
then waited in the tense silence.

Erin sighed, lifted his hands, took hold of Cupid's head and pulled it
upwards. Stared him straight in the eye.
"Everything he told you about yourself was a fucking lie." Cupid closed his
eyes.
"Do you hear me." Erin persisted, Cupid nodded very slowly and his head
dropped out of Erin's hands to settle back into Erin's chest, he made a very
quiet noise into the leather.

They were quiet for a long time, Cupid's a different kind of quietness, only
visible by the shaky movement of his shoulders.

Finally Cupid went still and Erin let him go. Cupid swayed back to sit next
to him again, sniffed awkwardly and wiped his face with an arm.
"That was very attractive." Erin offered, Cupid groaned and hit him with an
elbow.

Erin let him sit there quietly for a minute, occasionally sniffing and
blinking in faint embarrassment.

"We promised to tell everything." Erin said softly, Cupid stared at the
water.
"I know, I wasn't keeping it a secret or anything." Erin leant back, then
looked at him.
"No you were just hiding it from everyone and hoping it would go away."
Cupid didn't say anything because there was nothing to say, Erin was right.

"I'm sorry," Erin's voice softened.
"You're not a coward Cupe, but you're not a warrior either, you gotta leave
the arse kicking to me." A slight pause, then.
"Unless it's a girl, then we'll let Pep handle it." Cupid burst into
involuntary laughter which was almost impossible to stifle. Erin grinned at
him.
"Much better," Cupid went red and couldn't for the life of him work out why.

"No but seriously we all got our own nitches in the world." Cupid grinned at
him, sniggered.
"What?"
"Niche, not nitch." Erin pointed at him.
"See you got smart arse down pat already!" Cupid leant back on his hands,
nudged Erin with an elbow.
"Bastard."
"Absolutely." Cupid shook his head, he couldn't win, he really couldn't. He
did remember something though and he had to apologise for that.

"I'm sorry." Erin blinked, tilted his head.
"For what?"
"Calling you Strife." Erin laughed quietly.
"Y'know that's the funny thing, that's why I froze, it didn't bother me. You
calling me Strife, anyone else and-" Erin shrugged.
"But if we ever work together we're gonna be Cupid and Strife, look at my
Mom, she hardly ever gets called Eris anymore and Dionysus has been Bacchus
for a good thousand years." Erin leant back into the sun.

"I'm gonna be Strife eventually, it's how all the mortals will know me and
Ares has told me that already, I just, I dunno, it reminds me..."

Cupid shuffled closer and flopped his head down on Erin's shoulder.

"You scared the crap out of me you know, when he hit you, I thought he was
going break your neck or something." Erin giggled against his head.
"My heads never come off my shoulders yet."

"What he said about you..." Cupid stopped.
"I heard," Erin said quietly.
"It's true enough." Cupid shook his head until Erin's earrings scratched his
cheek.
"No it's not, that ended a long time ago." Erin moved his head until his
cheek pressed against Cupid's.
"It definitely helped, I got to cheat in a fight with a god three times
older than me." Cupid swayed, nudged him hard.
"You didn't cheat, you were amazing." Erin turned his head.

"Yeah?" Cupid nodded, stopped nodding and snorted.
"Yeah, well ok you were also a bit scary and for a minute there I thought
you were just gonna keep hitting him until I had to call Dad."

"I did zone just a little." Erin admitted.
"Not that I regret it or anything, it's probably a good thing I didn't know
the whole story, I dunno if I could have stopped, even for you."

"How did you do that anyway, how did you hurt him that much." Erin laid his
hands flat in the dirt.
"I don't know but it was easy enough to be sort of scary." Cupid eyed him
for a minute.
"Your strength appeared didn't it?" Erin's fingers dug into the dirt, Cupid
watched them.
"I guess so, maybe, I mean I certainly couldn't have punched through the
floor yesterday. Maybe it was just cos I was mad, I was really mad Cupe."

Cupid knew, he'd seen.
"I'm sorry." Erin started digging at the mud again with his fingers.
"I know and I know it wasn't your fault but shit the way he was talking to
you, I had to do something or my brain was going to fly out of the top of my
head and smash through the ceiling or something." Cupid raised an eyebrow.
"It's touching that you care, really it is." He said very slowly, trying not
to smile. Erin smiled just a little, glanced across at him and shook his
head.

"You gonna come back with me?" Cupid said, Erin shrugged.
"They're not mad at you if that's what you're worried about, I told you."
Erin pulled a face.
"Well mostly, that and the fact that I'm not completely sure I can look at
your Mom ever again." Cupid had a brief moment of confusion, then pulled a
face.
"Oh well you've only got yourself to blame, you're the one that watched."
Erin jangled briefly when his head shook.
"Well she's not technically your Mom when she's doing stuff like that."
Cupid made a rude sound.
"She's always my Mom, how would you like it if I watched your Mom-" Cupid
clamped his lip between his teeth and blinked frantically.

Erin's eyes tilted across towards him, but he was grinning.
"I'd think you'd gone funny in the head." Then he laughed, and wouldn't
stop, he just sat there shaking with his eyes shut.

"Erin, I didn't mean that."
"My Mom would probably choke you if you even thought about it." The shaking
didn't stop, if anything it got significantly worse.
"Erin you're scaring me." Cupid offered when there was a period of less
wheezy.
"Though I dunno, she might find it sort of funny." Cupid hit him.
"Erin I'm serious, stop creeping me out." Erin shut his mouth, then giggled
through the side and shook his head.

"Right, ok sorry, no naked Mom discussions." Cupid glared at him.
"Thank you." Cupid leant back in the grass, he waited for a little while and
offered.
"Everything's fixed, everything's back to normal, right?" Erin frowned at
him, though not hard. Cupid sighed and bobbed his head forward until he chin
touched his chest.
"Well can we pretend it is...please?" Erin was still frowning at him but
them abruptly he rolled his eyes and splayed his hands behind him, leant
back.

"So looks like rain." Cupid thumped him.
"I said normal, not boring." Erin sniggered and grinned over at him.
"You're never satisfied." He said softly. Cupid grinned back and then
something hit him and he went absolutely still.

Cupid blinked
"What?" Erin offered through a grin.
Cupid couldn't answer, all he could think was 'this is the part where you
kiss me.'

Erin blinked at him, lips parting very slowly. It took Cupid a very long
second to realise he'd said it out loud.




Title: Growing Up 22: Reaction
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S or should that be C/E?
Warning: None, I'm nice
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid's thought's, Erin's reaction and advice from a friend.


Erin blinked, he looked completely lost for words.

Cupid wondered how exactly he could take that back, realised he probably
couldn't, just wait there in horrible silence until Erin decided to take it
as a joke, or run away, or laugh at him. Did he want Erin to kiss him? If he
didn't what the hell had he said it for, and oh Zeus he didn't know. He
couldn't think past the absolutely horrible embarrassment which was trying
to shut his brain down.

How in the name of Hades had that gotten past his brain and out of his
mouth. Why wasn't Erin saying anything? How long had it been anyway? He was
pretty sure one of them should have said something by now. Why was he
panicking, it was an accident wasn't it. Did he really want Erin to kiss
him? He was very quickly going red and he was certain he'd be the same shade
as Bacchus in a minute and Erin was still sitting there staring at him, how
long had it been?

'We're going to be stuck in this uncomfortable creepy silence forever.'
Cupid realised, this must be what Tartarus is like. 'Oh Zeus Erin do
something, I don't care what, laugh if you like.'

Cupid looked away and shut his eyes.

Silver jingled very close to his face, but he was way too far gone to open
his eyes in case he saw something horrible. Metal again, the softest
clinking almost right in front of his eyes. He opened them again.

Erin was looking at him from only a few inches away. He blinked at him and
couldn't for the life of him think of anything to say.

//Did you mean that?// As always, Erin was thinking for him. This thought
though, he was finally capable of thinking on his own.

//Yes.//

Erin made a very small noise and raised his head.

Erin tilted one way and Cupid tilted the other, but it was Erin who leant
forward. It was Erin who kissed him first, Cupid shut his eyes. He didn't
know if Erin did or not but then there was the slightest pressure against
his mouth. His entire being was concentrated on that and he almost missed
the long hand that slid into his hair.

Erin tilted his head just a little more and Cupid let him. He could feel
Erin's heartbeat, it was fluttering like a birds. Which meant just maybe
Erin was feeling exactly the same way he was. Erin's lips parted just a
little, though the asking was done more with the hand in his hair.

Cupid never had been able to refuse him anything. He lifted a hand and
rested it on the bad of Erin's neck which was smooth as glass, and opened
his mouth. As simply as that, he knew what Erin tasted like.

//Cupid?// He jumped backwards, made a noise which was somewhere between
surprise and panic, then swallowed very hard.
//Yes Mom?// Erin was watching him closely, eyes confused, hurt almost.
'Mom' he mouthed quickly. Erin raised his eyebrows, then nodded.
//If you two are alright now I need you in my temple.// Cupid tried to
breathe normally.
//Er..ok, I'm on my way.//
//Ok honey.//

Cupid stared into space for a second to try and collect his thoughts, or
have some thoughts, one or the other, then he looked at Erin, who was
staring at the grass.
"I have to go Erin."
"Ok," he didn't look up from his contemplation of greenness. That didn't
seem like a good sign.
"I'll come round later, ok, we can talk about...stuff." Erin finally did
look up, but the face he was wearing didn't say much.
"Ok." Cupid had enough confused panic left in him to step forward and
awkwardly slide his arms around his best friend, after a brief pause Erin
exhaled against his ear and hugged him back.

---

Pep nearly jumped out her skin when a white shape tumbled onto the balcony.
She set down the unopened bottle of nail polish with a sigh and waited
patiently for Cupid to find his feet, which he did, eventually.

Pep locked the door with a wave of her hand and patted the bed with a foot.
Cupid sank down on it.
"You look like a week in Tartarus." She offered by way of greeting. Cupid
sighed and looked her full in the face, uh oh, seriousness. She struggled to
find her serious adult face, she was working on it, though she still had a
tendency to pout.

"Pep, I've got to talk to you, because well Mom is...Mom and I'm not talking
to Dad and I can't talk to Hes because she doesn't...shit. There's no one
left that knows, you know what I mean." Pep raised an eyebrow at him.
"It's so nice that you come to me first with important stuff." She offered
flatly. Cupid had the grace to look embarrassed. She sighed.
"Well you're here now, what's it about?" Cupid laid his hands palm down on
the bed and leant forward.
"Erin," like it was the biggest secret in the world, Pep wasn't exactly
trembling with anticipation, but you never knew with the sort of things Erin
got up to.
"What did he do now?"

"He kissed me." Pep tilted an eyebrow, then without hesitation raised an arm
and thumped Cupid in the chest.
"Ow," he protested, and she knew it had hurt.
"What was that for!" Pep scowled and lowered her arm.
"A girl can dream y'know, if you're gonna shatter mine into itty bitty
pieces I have to hit you at least." Cupid rubbed his breastbone, considered
it.
"That's fair I suppose." Pep sat back and grinned, bounced a little.

"So tell me, tell me!" Cupid frowned at her, then sighed and folded his legs
underneath him.
"I sort of told him to, but it was an accident." Pep frowned.
"How can you accidentally ask someone to kiss you?" Cupid pulled a wing over
his head, which Pep promptly shoved backwards.
"It's easier than you'd think." He muttered, Pep snorted.

"Oh yes, I go around accidentally asking people to kiss me all the time."
Cupid scowled, then started again.
"He did though and I don't know whether he did it because I asked him to or
because he wanted to!" Pep scowled.
"You don't think Erin wanted to kiss you, I find that hard to believe."
Cupid groaned.
"We've been friends forever Pep, and I don't want to make it weird." Pep
planted her hands on her hips, and tried for a very adult pose.
"It's already weird, you opened the barn door, that horse has already bolted
and been sold to the circus." Cupid raised a quizzical eyebrow. Pep waved a
hand indicating that that wasn't important right now and they were talking
about him, thank you very much.

"You have no idea the lengths that Erin would go to for you, I'm so jealous
it makes my head want to crack open. If he doesn't love you then I'm damned
if I know what's going on. You should know, you're the squishy one, can't
you tell that he loves you!" Cupid threw his hands up.
"I know he loves me, but not like that." Pep raised an eyebrow.
"Well maybe not until you asked him to kiss you, that's turning platonic
love on it's head isn't it." Cupid gave her a confused, desperate, uncertain
look. Pep hit him.

"He didn't say anything! He just sort of stared at the grass." Pep frowned.
"What?" She shook her head.
"Ok, explain." Cupid sighed.
"I asked him to kiss me, he sat there looking like his eyes were going to
fall out then he asked me if I meant it and I said yes. He kissed me, then
my Mom calls me and I sort of pulled away and told him we'll talk about it
later." Pep scowled at him, then raised her arm and thumped him.
"Ow, Pep stop that!" She glared at him and resisted the urge to thump him
again.

"Zeus Cupid did someone steal your sensitivity nerve or something." Cupid
stared at her.
"What, what did I do?" Pep flung her arms up.
"Nothing you did absolutely nothing. Erin did exactly what you asked him to
do dammit and you did nothing, you didn't even say anything did you. Like
maybe, oh I dunno 'thanks' or 'wow'." She slapped a hand down on the bed.
Cupid frowned.
"I didn't just leave, I hugged him ok, I was a little distracted. I asked
Erin to kiss me and he did!" Cupid shook his head, muttered 'he did' again
and went quiet.

"You're not playing here Cupid, this is Erin we're talking about. You know
him inside out and he should be the one you're talking to." Pep didn't say
the rest of what she was thinking, she just sat there and fumed. Finally she
managed to squash her face back into it's normal expression.

"But since you're a complete weenie and you're obviously not talking to him
I'm gonna have to do. Now stop going over things in tiny excruciating
detail, look at the things that you know." Pep snapped,
"You asked him to kiss you so you must have meant it whether you know it or
not. You having a complete spaz over it is stupid." Cupid glared at her. Pep
reached up and grabbed a wing, dragged him down by it, ignoring his wince.
"Did you like it?" Cupid obviously knew what she was talking about.
"Yes." Pep made a happy noise.
"Do you love Erin?" Pep gave his wing a gentle tug and he hissed.
"Yes."
"Do you want to be with him until the universe explodes like an angry bag of
popcorn." Another tug, but Cupid considered it.
"Yes?" Pep pinched the feathers she was holding until Cupid yelped.
"Don't ask me tell me!"
"Yes!" Cupid supplied loudly.

Pep nodded, then smirked and leant very close, whispered something in his
ear, Cupid went bright red and jerked backwards as far as her grasp of
feathers would allow.

"Where did you learn that!" Pep grinned.
"Well do you?" Cupid looked at her with his mouth open.
"If I did I don't think I should admit it to you." Another tug,
"Ow Pep!"
"Do you?"
"Yes, dammit!" Cupid shut his mouth abruptly, went an even lovelier shade of
crimson. Pep grinned very smugly and released him.
"Right, well then, get out of my damn bedroom and go tell him."
"Pep!"

She slapped him on the back of the head.
"Go!"

She waited until the feathers settled, then flopped back on the bed and
burst into tears.

After a while, and a lot of balled up tissues she sat up and scrubbed her
eyes. Sometimes you had to mean to the people you loved, especially when
they were acting so blind they wandered around bumping into things.
"I hate being twelve." She pulled out her mothers big book, which was hidden
under her pillow, and flipped to the page marked 'weddings.'




Title: Growing Up 23: Equal and Opposite
Author: Corona
Rating: PG
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S ? C/E
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: More advice and a very tentative reunion.


Hestia regarded the figure slouched against her doorframe, a riot of black
and white against the cheery mahogany. He tilted his head in her direction
and silver jingled. 'Oh my,' decoration had come a long way since she was a
godling. She carefully set her spoon down and crossed her arms.

"Erin love come inside where it's warm." she said simply, but that was more
than enough to bring him into the kitchen, she pulled a stool out for him
and watched him flop into it. He sighed and all but collapsed on top of the
wooden surface until his chin was balanced on his arms.
"Hi Auntie Hes." She waited, there was obviously something else. Something
he needed a moment to say.

"Can I talk to you?" Hestia gave him her best smile, the one she used when
it was really needed.
"Anywhere and anywhen Erin." He sighed into his arms.
"About Cupid." Hestia waited, some people could only get things out in fits
and starts and some reeled along like chariots out of control. She had a
feeling Erin was having a problem which would involve both.

"I kissed him." Hestia made a noise and pulled out a chair next to him.
"That sounds quite serious." Erin was sitting perfectly still, frozen in his
own space. Hestia hadn't seen him do that in a long while. He had grown into
a jiggler, a fidgeter, years worth of it from childhood had exploded when he
hit thirteen, but now he was a statue, it was far too psychological for her
tastes so she wouldn't contemplate that.

"He sort of told me to, only I don't know, he was thinking it very loudly
and I'm not sure if he really said it or not, I mean what if he didn't mean
it. What if I should have just laughed it off, I'm not all that good at
deciding what the smart thing is to do anymore." Erin trailed off and glared
at the floor. Then his head lifted again.
"It was so, intense, the way he thought it, and at first I was going to
just...I dunno really, but he kept looking at me and I wanted to Hes, I
really did." Hestia looked at him.

"I'd never wanted to before, I mean he's been there forever, he's Cupid!
It's never been like that, I never intended to..." Hestia's throat
constricted at how much Erin was panicking, twisting one way and the other
so hard you could almost see a crack starting.
"Maybe he's still confused about Triton I don't know, or maybe it was
because of what I did, Hes I don't know what to do. For a second I was sure
he wanted it too Hes, I really was. He kissed me back, he did." He finally
stopped on a confused breath, everything only half said.

"I think you better start at the beginning love." Hestia said very calmly.
Erin looked at her, sighed loudly and started to talk. Hestia listened, she
was very, very good at listening.

When he got to the end he stopped and looked at her. Hestia looked back,
"You've been looking after him a lot lately haven't you?" she said quietly,
then watched Erin think about it.
"Yeah, I guess." Hestia smiled, that could be called an understatement, but
she wasn't going to tell him that, he had to see that on his own.

"And sometimes it hurts just a little doesn't it?" Erin gave her a curious
look and she laughed.
"You think I've never been in love?" Erin peered at her out of the corner of
his eye.
"I thought...?" He went quiet. Hestia laughed again.
"And you'd be absolutely right, but that doesn't mean I've never been in
love, or been loved in return, sometimes that's enough." Erin went red.
"I didn't know." Hestia smiled at him.
"I know you didn't precious, which is why it's so important that you came to
me, even if you didn't know it." Erin was looking very confused, how very
young he was. Hestia didn't resist the temptation to gently kiss the top of
his head.

"You'll work it out Erin, and you'll see that you're smarter than you think
you are." Erin sighed.
"But what do I do Hes, how do I fix this." Hestia sighed.
"You can't Erin, you have to go forward, always forward."

Hestia wrapped an arm around his shoulders, let him lean into her, it was so
much easier when someone bigger than you held you.
"Do you really love him?" Hestia asked softly.
"Yes." 'Oh my' said so quietly and yet so quickly, she tilted her head
slightly, then smiled.
"Are you in love wit him?" Erin blinked, stared at the table. Hestia let him
think about it.
"Yes." He offered finally, Hestia squeezed his shoulder.

Erin shook his head,
"But what if he doesn't, that won't work, how can I stuff it away if he
doesn't." Hestia made a very quiet noise and tilted Erin's head. The boy was
impossible, when was he going to start feeling for himself. There was no
shame in it. That wouldn't help though, telling him that. She smiled at him
slightly and gave him something else instead.
"If you ignore it, it will only hurt you worse Erin, you're so close and you
know you can't hide this from him. He's love and if you try and crush this
you'll hurt him. You have to drag it into the light and have a good look at
it." Erin frowned up at her, he didn't look as if he liked that idea, not at
all.

"But what if he doesn't love me? What do I do then?" Hestia squeezed his
shoulder hard.
"Oh precious, if he doesn't know he loves you by now, then he's a fool."

---

The first person Cupid saw was Ares, which was ok because he didn't feel any
strange urges to go over and tell him anything of importance. His Dad did
look at him though, in some creepy 'reminding him about the conversation
that was still pending' way. He walked past him pretty fast. Erin's room was
still his room and he wouldn't be afraid of it. In fact he was going to
storm right in.

He changed his mind when he actually got there, turned the handle gently and
stepped inside. It wasn't any different, at least it didn't look different
even if it felt so. Erin was flopped on the bed on his stomach, playing with
one of the chain puzzles Heph made when he had nothing else to do. Erin
looked up, then shuffled to his knees, dropped the little links with a soft
jangle.

Cupid took a moment to look at him, decided he didn't look quite the same as
before. There were so many little things he hadn't noticed before. Which
seemed insane but it was true, when did Erin get so long, and had he always
been that pale, it seemed awful that he hadn't noticed before. What else was
different, what else had he missed? Had anyone else noticed? That was a very
uncomfortable thought so he shoved it away. He realised he was just standing
there not saying anything, just looking at him.

"Hi," Cupid offered at last.
"Hi," Erin kicked some cushions out of the way, waved.

Cupid sat down by Erin's feet.
"We need to talk." One of Erin's eyes twitched, it hadn't done that for a
long time.
"Ok." Cupid didn't really know how to start but he knew what he wanted to
say so he let his mouth just go with it.
"This is pretty much going down as the strangest year of my life." Erin
raised an eyebrow.
"Oh I'm sure being an adult is tricky and everything but this right
now...definitely the weirdest." Erin raised the other eyebrow, making it
perfectly clear that he better not be part of this weirdness. Cupid groaned,
"I'm not doing this right." He complained, shuffled onto the bed a little
more. He went quiet but Erin didn't say anything so he carried on.

"I talked to Pep, she hit me a lot." Erin frowned in total confusion.
"I think she wanted to make sure I knew I was an ass." That got Erin's
attention.
"Why are you an ass." Cupid exhaled loudly.
"Because of what I did, she's cleverer than you think y'know, and also sort
of scary, I didn't see that before. I mean she's always been so little but
today I swear she was as big as her hair."
"Huh?" Erin looked confused and Cupid had gone off track again and he knew
it.
"I'm sorry I left, I'm sorry I didn't have any sense this afternoon." Erin
blinked at him, then for want of anything else to do, shrugged.

"I didn't know what else to do and I couldn't think of anything to say then,
my head was all...full of stuff." Cupid realised something and sighed.

"I'm still not doing this right." Erin blinked at him, it appeared he
wouldn't be getting any help, right he was Love he could do this.

He moved his hand until it brushed Erin's, then tangled their fingers
together. To make absolutely sure he leant forward and kissed Erin very
gently at the corner of his mouth, then pulled away and looked at him.

"Does that work?" He asked shyly.

Erin smiled.



Title: Growing Up 24: Family Business
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid gets up close and personal with some arrows.


They'd arrived this morning, hot from Heph's workshop, almost literally, at
least until he learnt how to make them on his own. They were all lined up on
the table, right next to the note. Which he picked up and read again, just
in case by some marvellous freak accident the words had changed. They
hadn't, they still sat there in his mothers excitable flowery handwriting,
being tormenting and yet deceptively bullying. Cupid put the piece of paper
back down and stared at the arrows again. He wasn't ready for this, he
wasn't even close, he wasn't supposed to be doing this yet, was he?

They looked so serious laying there, all be-feathered and oddly menacing.
These were his actual arrows, actual proper love arrows which were going in
his bow, which would end up in people! He'd spent the last dozen years
trying not to shoot people with arrows, how was he supposed to just pop out
there and 'thwock', impale people with these thin implements of extreme
danger. He hadn't even plucked up the courage to pick one up yet. Was he
hyperventilating? Could gods hyperventilate? Oh Zeus he didn't want to do
it, he really didn't, what if he screwed up. His mother would end up having
to come fix it all, which would be seriously bad for his reputation,
correction he'd have no reputation.

Or worse he'd lose one of them, or fall on one of them, or trip over and
drop them all off of a cliff. He stared at them some more, he was going to
have to be brave enough to pick up one of the damn things pretty soon. Where
was the other piece of paper, ah there it was, on the floor, why wasn't that
a surprise. He picked it up and read it through. Ok colour coding, blue,
yellow, red, yes that was all very interesting but he wasn't going to take a
chance trying to memorise it. He rolled it up and stuck it in his belt.

Then he very carefully lifted a red arrow by the shaft. It felt like a real
arrow, same weight, same balance, he peered at it, fingered the feathered
end and then stared at it some more. Ok he knew the basic dynamics. Arrow
goes in bow, shoot bow, arrow goes in person. It was the last one he was
having trouble with. He didn't like the idea of shooting people, it seemed
mean and just...wrong. He wouldn't like it if some other god went around
shooting things into him!

"Yo Cupe-Whoah!" Erin ducked the arrow that was jerked in the direction of
his face, then took Cupid's wrist and carefully turned it away from him.
"Ok, lets not poke sharp objects at Erin today Hmm." Cupid went white and
dropped the arrow back on the table.
"Erin, you scared the shit out of me," Cupid pushed the arrow a little
further away from him.
"Sorry about that." Erin leant on the table.

"Oh wow, Heph dropped them off finally?" Erin had no reservations about
snatching one up and investigating it.
"Are these the real deal, whoah, what's with the colours, are they all
different?" Cupid made a noise and pulled the piece of paper out of his
belt, handed it over.
"Yes, they're real, yes they're different, they're active as well." Erin
scrutinised the list then picked up a red one.
"So this is...?" Cupid couldn't for the life of him remember, sure he'd read
the list a couple of times but everything was pretty much squelching out of
his brain at the minute through sheer panic. Erin was reading down the list
though.

"This is actually cooler than I thought it would be, you know you got a
jealousy arrow right, where's the green one?" Cupid stared at the table for
a minute, then picked up the arrow with green flecks in it's feather. Erin
took it and peered at it.
"Now this is something I could work with. I don't get projectiles, though
since the 'throwing things around' part of my head went pretty much off the
map I don't really need any." Cupid took the arrow back, he really didn't
like the way Erin was twirling it around, and put it carefully back on the
table.

"Don't mix then up I have to put them in my belt." Erin gaped at him a
little.
"Today, you're going down to earth to play with them today!" Cupid didn't
think Erin should sound so excited about it.
"I'm not playing with them, I have a list of actual people." He picked up
the second piece of paper and waved it in Erin's face. Erin snatched it,
read it.

"Hades there's eight people down here, you'd think Dite would let you start
small!" Cupid agreed completely, why of all the times in his life had his
Mom picked now to throw him in at the deep end. He took the paper back and
shoved that into his belt as well.

"I don't even get a day to get used to them, I'm supposed to go down more or
less now and start shooting them at people!" He didn't care how indignant he
sounded. It was completely unfair to be excited about something forever and
then when it finally arrived be scared to death. He felt completely cheated,
which only made panicking worse, he probably deserved the panicking. Erin
was looking at him, thin arms folded.

"You're panicking, why are you panicking?" Cupid glared at him, shifted his
bow from hip to rump, started counting off on his fingers.
"What if the people don't want to get shot? What if I somehow end up killing
someone cos the arrow doesn't pooft like it's supposed to? What if I screw
up? What if I miss? What if I can't find them?" Cupid realised he'd run out
of fingers and started panicking about that as well.
"I'm going to be terrible and people are going to laugh at me forever, I'm
going to do everything wrong and I'm going to lose the arrows and Mom's
going to have to come fix everything and Dad's gonna look at me like I'm a
total failure! Erin at the minute I can't do anything but panic!"

"Would it help if I slapped you?" Erin offered in such a serious voice that
Cupid glared at him.
"Erin!" Erin was supposed to be supportive dammit, he was supposed to fix
this stuff, or at least make him feel so stupid that he couldn't be worried
anymore. In fact this would be a really good time to kiss him and tell him
he was an idiot, hug him? Do something but stand there with his eyebrow all
raised looking freakishly like his father.

Then in one movement Erin scooped up the arrows and dumped them in their
quiver, deposited it less than gently against Cupid's chest. Cupid gave him
the best hurt look he could muster. Which was impressive since he was
feeling considerably hurt.
"Erin?" Erin looked at him and Cupid was relieved to see he didn't look mad.
Though still confused as to why he was scowling when Cupid was the one who
had to go down and do all the work.

Erin was apparently playing creepy mind reading tricks again because he
grabbed Cupid's arm and started dragging him in the direction of the doors.

"Stop acting like a five year old, take your new arrows and your lists and
go down to earth. Shoot the people on the lists with the arrows they're
supposed to get shot with and make a name for yourself. You're a God, you're
going to be a damn important one and you're going to act like it!"

"Erin?!" Ok that hurt, he was not acting like a five year old, and that had
hurt.
"No, come on, move." Cupid couldn't do a hell of a lot but go in the
direction Erin dragged him.

---

He wasn't in the best mood when they arrived in a small village outside
Thrace. Certainly not in a good enough mood to be spreading joy and love. In
fact he was feeling miserable and betrayed and he was still panicking, at
this rate the bowstring would probably snap if he tried to shove anything in
it.

He shot Erin a glare which he normally only reserved for his mother and
unhooked his bow and looked around, where was this guy anyway, what was his
name Parnus? Parnathus? How was he supposed to shoot the guy if he couldn't
find him, why did mortals always make things awkward, they didn't have any
signatures and there were billions of them. He growled and pulled out the
piece of paper. Parnithus, ok close enough, white arrow. He sent Erin
another glare and fished around in his quiver. He nearly sent the whole lot
flying but finally managed to shove the thing in.

He reminded himself quite loudly that the arrow wasn't going to kill anyone,
his Mom would not let him go out and kill people, she wouldn't, she
definitely wouldn't. He knew the guy was here somewhere, he had to be and
oddly enough Cupid did know what he looked like, even though there was no
way he could know, he'd certainly never met him before. He couldn't just
stand there though, with Erin standing behind him like some shadow, so he
turned around.

"That was a really mean thing to say Erin." He decided on finally, Erin
shoved his hands in his pockets and nodded.
"Uh huh," well at least he looked contrite. Cupid was all ready to say
something mean, but Erin hadn't finished.
"You were dithering, you never get anything done when you dither, that's
when you screw up." Erin shrugged.
"I don't want you to screw up." Cupid wanted to glare, how could he say
something mean after that? So he didn't, he just stood there, trying to
glare and failing horribly.

But just as quickly there was Parnithus, walking along, minding his own
business, and Cupid was in charge of shooting at him. 'They better be right,
this better work exactly like it's supposed to.' He should have fired a
practice arrow at an animal, wasn't it wonderful how you always remembered
things right after the last minute.

The guy was looking at the woman he was supposed to love. The daughter of
the merchant who owned a hat stall. What wonderful future prospects, but of
course that wasn't his area. He lifted the bow, aimed, 'please Gods don't
look away, keep looking at the hat lady, keep looking at the hat lady,'
fired.

The man didn't keel over dead.

He jumped like he'd been stung and the arrow disappeared in golden sparkles
which flashed in front of his eyeballs for a second. Cupid watched,
resisting the urge to yell at the man to do something so he knew the damn
thing worked.

Three seconds later the man smiled at the hat lady, a second after that
Cupid knew it had most definitely worked. He inhaled raggedly and he
definitely felt something, though he couldn't have described it if he wanted
to. The closest he could come was...it felt like Love had seen him,
recognised him, and given him a great big thank you hug, before whizzing off
to play with the happy hat couple.

It took him a second to realise a pair of arms had looped around his chest
and were holding him up.
"Oh Gods." That was about all he could get out, his bow had clattered to the
floor, it lay near his foot, looking forlorn and empty. He'd done that,
he'd made the hat couple happy! Did he really get to do this for the rest of
his immortal life, what was the catch? Who would he have to pay? Seriously
this was his job and his Mom had told him nothing and let him have a
complete spasm why exactly? He was smiling at the floor, he was sure of it.
Erin pushed him back to his feet, he swayed a little, then stood straight.

"Cupe, you ok?" Cupid turned until he could see Erin's face. Maybe that
hadn't been the best idea, that was a great face. He swayed close enough to
lay his cheek against Erin's, whose skin was so cool it felt amazing. He
tried to find something to say, anything, couldn't even manage a 'wow'.

But then it didn't matter, because Erin had moved his head and was kissing
him, and it didn't feel like he wanted to stop anytime soon. It felt alive
and was very rapidly drowning out everything else. Cupid didn't mind because
Erin was really good at this, better than Mischief had any right to be. In
fact Love was on the verge of surrendering completely. He really wanted to
know who taught Erin how to kiss, but not now. Later when he could think,
when strong hands weren't tilting his head back, and when Erin wasn't
sliding his thumbs against the line of his jaw, with enough pressure to
almost hurt.

Then just as abruptly Erin pulled back and Cupid was left staring at him and
going red, even Erin looked a bit surprised, shocked almost, he was blinking
and chewing his lower lip. Cupid took a breath and grinned, Erin grinned
back, then dropped his forehead gently against Cupid's.
"Erin?" Cupid peered sideways out of the corner of his eye.
"Erin the mortals are staring." Erin laughed, Cupid couldn't help it, he
laughed as well.

Erin very gently tugged him towards an alley, into which thank gods the
intrigued bystanders didn't follow them. Cupid leant back against the wall
and sighed.
"Oh Zeus." Erin appeared in front of him, still looking unnerved.
"What did you do?" he asked quietly. Cupid grinned, shut his eyes, debated
whether he was going to slide down the wall.
"I did what I was supposed to do." He offered, Erin shook his head.

"No afterwards, you did something to me, I didn't know you could do that?"
Cupid cracked an eye open.
"I did?" Erin very slowly coloured.
"Oh yes." Cupid let his head settle back against the wall, until some imp
that lived in his head decided it wanted to join in.
"Did you like it?" Erin's eyes bugged, Cupid smirked at him, this time Erin
went very red.
"Just don't do it again, ok?" Cupid very slowly nodded.
"Ok." Now why did he think he'd be breaking that promise sometime soon.



Title: Growing Up 25: Consolation Prize I
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: A closer look at Persephone, and a different sort of rescue.


"Persephone, Persephone are you ready yet?" Pep rolled her eyes and shoved
the scroll she was reading under the mattress. She'd been ready for an hour,
it was Mom who took three hours to put on a pair of shoes.
"I'm coming." She pushed off the bed, patted her mint dress until it looked
less crinkled, and the bows were straight, looked in the mirror, grinned at
herself, then she stepped out of the doors.

"Yes Mother." Demeter rustled over to her in a thousand yards of green
fabric, then stood over her like she was a mortal or something.
"Persephone why aren't you wearing the blue dress, I told you this morning I
wanted you to look like a young lady didn't I?" Pep fought to urge to roll
her eyes and shred her dress to pieces while her mother watched in
open-mouthed horror.
"Yes Mother."
"And what in the name of Zeus have you done to your hair Persephone, we're
going to be late, I've a mind to think you did it on purpose." Demeter
leant, put her hands on Pep's shoulders and spun her around. Then with
movements born of long practice she pulled the half dozen hair clips out of
Pep's hair.

Pep sighed, she'd spent ages doing her hair and it had looked nice, she'd
pulled all the fluffy bits off of her face, since Cupid and Erin told her
she had nice eyes, and put the rest in a big bun which she'd covered in a
silver net. Now her mother was trashing an hours work, she glared at the
wall.

Demeter had a brush which she'd procured from the ether and was near
violently pulling through Pep's hair.
"You completely ruined your hair, all your lovely hair stuck behind your
head Persephone, what were you thinking?"
"Sorry mother." Demeter spun her around.

"Right arms up!" 'Oh Gods someone kill me now!' Pep lifted her arms,
flinched when her dress was whisked over her head in a riot of ribbons and
buttons, leaving her there in her underwear. Mom didn't look happy.
"Persephone really, you'll be the death of me! What have I told you about
this, you're far too young for a corset, really do you want to grow up like
Aphrodite?" Pep was tempted to protest that actually sounded like fun but
her mother was already pulling the laces of her corset out and unfolding the
whole thing which she'd spent forever working out how to tie.

It fell to the ground and disappeared, 'bye corset, see you when my breasts
are so huge even my mother can't vanish you.' She glared at the floor while
her mother procured the vile blue dress and wrestled her into it. 'Oh gods
she looked like a huge blue jelly. She'd wobble from side to side when she
walked. She really wanted to scream, loud enough to shatter windows. Instead
she stood there and pretended she was someone else while her mother tied the
dress and brushed her hair again.

"Persephone I want you on your best behaviour, stay close to me and don't
talk to any Gods you don't know, don't get food on your dress, stay away
from Ares and for the love of Zeus try not to embarrass me." What the hell
was she supposed to do that was embarrassing? Fall down the main staircase
and crack her head open, 'Oh Persephone look what you did, brain matter does
not go with blue.' She giggled and Demeter stopped brushing.
"What's so funny young lady?" Persephone grinned where her Mom couldn't see
her.
"Nothing, sorry Mother." Demeter huffed and the brush vanished.

"There you go, now you look like a princess, simply divine, isn't that
better now." She was swivelled to face the full length mirror. She glared at
herself. She did indeed look like a giant blue jelly, only now she had what
looked like a hat made entirely of hair, 'kill me now.'
"Now don't touch yourself, I won't have you ruining your lovely appearance
through a whim, you can be very immature sometimes I despair of you I really
do. You have centuries before you have to worry about corsets and such
things, centuries. Oh and don't forget to curtsy to Zeus, you must remember
that, curtsy and smile." 'I'm going to cry' Pep thought, 'either that or go
so completely mad they'll make me go live with Mania, I bet she gets to wear
a corset whenever she likes.'

In fact Cupid didn't even wear a shirt, Pep wondered briefly what her mother
would do if she went out with no shirt on. The idea was so hilarious it
amused her for the entire time Demeter did her face. She sat by the door and
swung her legs. Now would be a really good time to kick something, though
screaming was still an option if things got really bad.

"Persephone come." Demeter swished through the main doors, Pep sighed,
jumped down and followed her, through she did manage a bit of rebellion, she
dragged the toes of her new shoes on the marble all the way to the main
hall.

---

"Erin stop fidgeting." Ares said flatly, Erin went still on his chair and
Cupid sniggered at him, which got a glare and a poke. Cupid retaliated by
tipping his chair backwards.
"Will you two behave, you're not four." Aphrodite added , Erin teetered
until Ares grabbed the chair and righted it. They sat still until assorted
parents and parental guardians lost interest in them.

Cupid slouched onto the table.
"I hate official functions, they go on forever!" Erin gave the harness Cupid
was wearing an amused tug and Cupid growled at him.
"Leave it alone, it itches enough already." It did more than itch, it was
heavy and weird, and white, it made him look like an ice cream in bondage
gear. He thunked his head down on the table and fought the urge to snore
into it. Maybe if he was very lucky he could sleep through the whole thing.
Then again if he was unlucky he'd probably end up waking up and finding Hera
stood over him ready to exact some nasty punishment.

"Why does everyone have to come, why couldn't we stay in and do something
else."
"We're supposed to be learning stuff." Erin supplied, though he didn't sound
happy about it. Cupid grunted and flopped his head back into his arms.
"Because gosh there's just so many things to learn sitting around for four
hours, like just how numb your arse is capable of going!" Erin giggled and
flopped down on the table next to him.

//So,// Erin sent carefully.
//Do you think Pep will like her present?// Cupid slid his eyes sideways.
//The amount of trouble we could get into I hope so.// Erin wiggled a bit
closer, not that it mattered since they weren't technically talking, but
Cupid wasn't going to complain. He seriously doubted Erin would do anything
in front of his parents, Cupid spent the next five minutes trying to work
out if he'd mind.

---

"Persephone sit still, stop moving your legs, no don't eat that, drink some
of your juice, but don't spill it on your dress." Pep was determined to
freeze completely solid and do absolutely nothing for the next four hours.
If she didn't move a muscle then by rights her Mother wouldn't have anything
to berate her for. Then again she'd probably just use the silent
non-movement to produce another lecture. Which was definitely something to
be avoided.

It didn't matter now anyway because Demeter was talking to Aunt Hera. Oh
gods they'd be at that forever, leaving her to sit in absolute boredom and
stare at everyone who walked by. No surprises, no fighting, just lots of
people filing past looking generally gorgeous and definitely corseted.

In fact she'd bet that some of the men were wearing them as well, definitely
Helios because she was fairly certain men shouldn't be shaped like that, he
looked like a girl. That wasn't the worst of it, he was prettier than Pep,
she was certain of it. The world had to be unfair when men could wear
corsets and be prettier than her. That was it, she made a pledge to never
talk to him, ever.

Where the hell were Cupid and Erin anyway? Oh, there they were, squashed
between Dite and Ares, giggling at each other. She sighed, they were
probably holding hands under the table. Life was so unfair, she resisted the
urge to thump her head between juice and bowl of crackers, no dammit thump
her head right in the bowl of crackers and wander around with crackers in
her hair all damn night long, see how mom liked that.

Screw it, if she was going to miserable and rebellious she might as well do
something which would make it worth while, she was gonna go the whole way.
She waited until her Mom was completely engrossed in Aunt Hera as slouched
in her chair, then when Hera laughed she slithered all the way off and under
the table.

Half surprised that she'd actually done it and half terrified she was going
to be dragged out by her elbow any minute she started crawling across the
marble, carefully avoiding feet that she was fairly sure belonged to Zeus
and Hera. Mom definitely wouldn't be happy if she kneed Zeus in the instep,
curtsying was one thing, actual bodily harm would probably piss Zeus off.
Maybe she could get off for being thirteen maybe not, she wasn't taking the
chance, right no crawling over Zeus shiny boots.

She crawled over some more feet though, a bag, a harp and then head butted
something on a small gasp. What the hell had that been, she froze and stared
at the black boot she was sprawled over, uh oh. 'Oh please don't be Ares,
please don't be Ares,' Cupid's Dad scared the hell out of her just a little.
One of the boots shifted, prodded her in the arm, she clamped her mouth shut
and went completely still. The boot came down, then the tablecloth shifted.

"Shit," and she couldn't help that coming out, it wasn't the most delicate
of positions she was playing statue in. The tablecloth lifted fractionally
and someone was looking her in the eye. Someone she couldn't quite put a
name to, but they were at the head table so he was probably important. There
was a wealth of black but he wasn't thin enough to be Phonos.

Whoever it was they were blinking at her in startled surprise. Pep said the
first thing that came into her head.
"Rat me out and you'll be in big trouble." Admittedly not the first
impression that her mother was always making a big deal about. Nor
particularly menacing considering she was still sprawled over the
aforementioned boot. Maybe she should have been a bit more forth coming
about what trouble would involve. More startled blinking, and she was fairly
certain she was going to be hauled out and made into a public display of
humiliation. Her mother would never forgive her.

He was peering at her curiously, 'thank you hair' since it was, for once,
doing it's job and being all over her face he probably wouldn't recognise
her. She spent a minute debating whether she could possibly be that lucky.
It took another second for her to realise he hadn't started screaming or
dragged her out yet.

"You couldn't point me in the direction of Cupid and Erin?" When in doubt,
go for it, well that's what Erin said anyway and it was a sound piece of
advice. The side of his mouth actually curled up just a little bit and a
long hand lifted and pointed along the third table, she nodded.
"Thank you." Then before her situation could get horribly worse she climbed
off of his foot, which involved some tugging of her dress out from under it
and put her hand on something, nearly went flying. She felt around, ok, well
she couldn't see it but it was there. She picked it up, it would be silly to
look at something invisible but she tried, ok. Then she reached an arm out
and shoved it into the strangers lap.

"That's yours I suppose, sorry." and then she went crawling off again.

She had to veer left pretty sharply to avoid being kicked by a large golden
boot which could only belong to Apollo, it took that for her to wonder
exactly what she thought she was doing crawling around under the table at
the age of thirteen anyway. 'Maybe it's the child in me? Or maybe I'm just a
complete loon, who's Mom drove her over the edge, the girl who had her hair
brushed one too many times.' She stuttered round a table leg, got caught,
said something very unladylike when her dress tore.

That was when she saw something she did know, tiny pink slippers with
jewelled glass heels.
"Gotcha." Which was about right, because next to the slippers were a pair of
supremely polished black boots a few sizes too big and a smaller pair of
brown shin highs.

She let out a relieved breath and stuck a hand out, knocked something.
Something very large and silver, which stuttered, leant, swayed and dropped
towards her.



Title: Growing Up 26: Consolation Prize II
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Pep is still escaping from the official function. Though she has no
intention of going alone.




'Holy shit.' Pep lifted her hands completely on instinct and caught the
Sword of War against her shoulder. After a brief terrified check to make
sure she hadn't been spliced she blew out all the air in her lungs very
quietly. If she'd been any younger she may have actually wet herself from
sheer terror. What kind of idiot balanced a damn great sword against a chair
leg! Oh right, that kind of idiot. Though come to mention it, since she
hadn't been horribly impaled she was holding Ares sword!

'I'm holding the sword of War, Mom would have a fit. Then Ares would hurt me
in really interesting ways.' That was about as far as her courage went, she
wriggled forward until she could re-lean it against Ares chair leg. Then
realised she could inhale again.

Then, because between Ares was legs was not a good place to stop, she
carefully sidled round a huge thigh and stopped in front of the big black
boots. Well ok so they weren't holding hands under the table, their legs
were pressed together though, did that count? Did Erin know she was here,
since he was Mischief and she certainly felt really mischievous hiding down
here. She couldn't stay here forever though, she reached a hand up and very
carefully tugged on the laces of Erin's shirt.

He didn't move for a minute, and she got ready to do it again, until a pale
hand appeared and settled in her hair, the tablecloth flipped up and Erin
appeared.
//Hello!// Pep offered. Erin clapped a hand over his mouth and made a very
inelegant noise. He turned it into a cough and Pep saw him kick Cupid, who
appeared a few seconds later. Pep was definitely feeling mischievous.
//Fancy seeing you two here.// Cupid was staring at her, Erin had gone back
up top, but he reappeared a second later.
//Hi Pep, what ya doing down there?// Pep wasn't surprised when Erin
slithered under the table and hugged her.
//Oh just crawling around,// she hugged him back.

Cupid was still mostly seated giving them both startled panicked looks. That
was ok though, Cupid always needed to be poked just a teeny bit to get into
trouble.
//Come on Cupe, no one will miss us.// Pep put a hand on top of Erin's head
and levered him a bit lower, since they were bigger than her and the table
wasn't that high after all!

Cupid chewed his lip and snuck glances back up along the table, and that was
definitely going to pull attention to them if anything was, so Pep and Erin
grabbed a leg each and pulled him off his chair. There was a thump and Pep
could imagine that looking really funny if anyone had actually been watching
at the time.

Well since he was down here they could pretty much go, because climbing back
up into his seat would definitely call attention to them. Pep just set off
again and she knew Erin was behind her because he was trying to keep his
earrings still.

She crawled a little slower when she reached the black boots. Patted around
the floor, just in case the invisible thing was here again. When she
couldn't find it she went to move again.

A large black boot moved and barred their way. Pep froze, uh oh, looked like
tall dark and ominous was gonna get her in trouble after all. She was
seriously debating biting down and taking her chances when something shiny
rolled under the table a foot in front of her. She held her breath, they all
did.
//Shit,// Erin offered to both of them. The table cloth flipped up and Hebe
reached under and grabbed the shiny ball, thankfully without looking in
their direction, then the table cloth flipped down again. Pep blew out a
breath and made a small noise.

//Thanks Uncle Hades.// Erin sent very clearly.
Pep's eyes bugged, she very nearly fell on her face, 'keep moving, nothing
to see here, oh dear, oh dear. Could thirteen year old Goddess's have heart
attacks, she was fairly certain they couldn't, well that was probably
alright then.' It just went to show you should be very careful who's boots
you crawled over.

//Try to stay out of trouble...all of you.// Erin completely startled her by
reaching out and pushing Hades boot out of the way. Would you credit it, she
shook her head and carried on crawling, curiouser and curiouser.

//So where we headed Pep?// Pep very carefully crawled over someone's feet,
more difficult than it sounded since they were twined around the feet of
whoever was sat next to him, someone with purple nail polish.

//I dunno, I'm just escaping in general.// She had to say something, if only
to be impressed, or scared, or full of deep gnawing paranoia.

//That wasn't really Hades was it?// Erin laughed in her head.
//Uh huh, why? Got a dead person you wanna visit?// Pep huffed even though
she knew he was joking.
//No, I just came this way and...did something a bit stupid.// Cupid leapt
into the conversation.
//Pep please tell me you didn't kick Hades!// 'Oh and wouldn't have that
been a smart thing to do.'
//No I didn't kick him, I may have...threatened him a little bit.// Cupid
made sounds which didn't translate well but Erin was laughing.
//Wow, did he look scared?// Pep swivelled enough to pull a face at him,
then grinned.
//Maybe just a little.//
//Hmm// Cupid and Erin offered.
//What I'm scary!// Erin grinned but Cupid considered her.
//She is a little scary Erin.// Erin didn't look convinced.
//Thank you Cupid.//

---

Pep wiggled out from under the drapes and stood outside the main hall. She
brushed dust and bits of food off of the despised blue dress and shoved as
much hair out of her face as she could, oh screw it, she flashed a clip and
shoved the whole lot up at the back, then waited for her co-conspirators to
reappear.

They did, giggling, Cupid made a noise and unfolded his wings.
"We are in so much trouble." Erin brushed dust off of his knees and
stretched.
"Yeah but we're not in trouble now, that counts right?" Cupid rolled his
eyes at the twisted logic but Pep sort of understood how it felt, if you
were going to be in big trouble you might as well go the whole way.

Erin nudged Cupid,
"The thing, we could do the thing now." Cupid frowned, then made a noise,
looked at Pep.
"We could give her the thing, since no one will be there." Cupid nodded.
"We could, we could do the whole thing." Pep looked between them and
stamped her foot.

"Hey, hey, what thing? I don't speak Mischievous!" Which was true, and
annoying.
"Spill," and she folded her arms until they did.

"Close your eyes." Cupid said simply.
"Huh?"
"Close your eyes, we've got something for you, we gotta take you there."
"I thought I was escaping us, how come I get taken prisoner?" Erin pouted.
"Awh come on, you'll like it, close your eyes." Pep sighed and shut them. A
second later, warm hands which smelt like caramel clamped over them.
"Hey, don't you trust me not to peek!"
"No."
"No," Pep huffed.
"Your hands smell like caramel sticks, how come you got caramel sticks, I
got juice and a bowl of damn crackers." Cupid sighed.
"I might have one left in my pocket." Pep grinned.
"Give!" Cupid shifted, and there was a rustle, but Cupid's hands didn't move
so it had to be Erin doing the rustling, then something which smelt divine
was poked under her nose.
"Open." Erin offered, she obeyed and munched contently on the two halves.
"Ah on eeg homih." She offered.
"Swallow." Erin pointed out, Pep chewed a bit more, then swallowed.

"I said I promise I won't peek." She meant it too, since they'd given her
sweets, you couldn't screw people after that.
"Well we know you might be tempted so we're making sure." Pep sighed, trust
was wonderful, well she could make them feel bad.

"I can see through your fingers you know?" Cupid made a surprised noise and
re-clamped his hands more securely over Pep's eyes.
"How about now." She blinked against his palms.
"Nope, blind as a bat." Cupid turned her off in the right direction and she
walked obediently where they pointed her.

---

"You better not wander me into anything gross, I'm wearing my good shoes."
Cupid grinned at her.
"There'll be no gross stuff, I promise," Pep made a noise and waved her
hands in front of her, Erin grabbed one of them.
"Don't you make me walk into anything Erin," he laughed at her.
"Would I?" Pep didn't seem assured.
"In an Olympian minute!"

Erin tilted his head until he could see Cupid.
//Still think this is a bad idea?//
//Yes!// Erin nodded his head towards Pep.
//It's not like she'll get in trouble.//
//No but we could.// Erin smiled at him. Oh dammit it all to Tartarus!

They stopped outside the main grounds, Pep stumbled a little until Erin
levered her steady.
"We're outside, I'm serious guys if I step in anything my Mom will go ape
shit, she has a thing about my shoes." Erin chuckled.
"Oddly enough Cupid has a thing about his shoes too."
"Shut up Erin." Pep was already giggling though.
"And you can stop laughing too, wench." Pep giggled some more.
"You do have a lot of shoes." Cupid sighed,
"Ok I have a lot of shoes, moving on."

---

They stopped her dead and Pep could smell something very unpleasant. Which
didn't bode well. She was fairly certain Cupid and Erin wouldn't do anything
mean but you couldn't build a mountain on 'fairly's'.
"Guys?"
Cupid whisked his hands away from Pep's eyes, she blinked. They'd brought
her to the main stables. Pep was immediately curious, maybe they came to see
the Griffons, or Ares War Horses?

"We know we missed your birthday so this is a bit late, but it took a bit
longer to fix than we thought." Cupid said quietly. Pep blinked, she was too
stunned to speak for a minute. They'd remembered her birthday, no one ever
remembered her birthday apart from Mom. They couldn't possibly have got her
a present.

Oh Zeus they better not have done or she might just burst into tears right
here. Ruining her image completely and looking like a total girl.
"You got me something for my birthday?" 'Way to squeak Pep,' she swallowed
and tried again.
"You didn't have to do that." It suddenly occurred to her that they were in
the stables, which meant her present was very possibly something alive and
all at once she couldn't breathe.

Cupid jogged to one of the stalls and unlatched it, sent Pep a grin and
grabbed a set of reins.

"Oh Zeus." It was a horse, a big one, it looked like one of Artemis mares.
It was so big and dark brown and lovely and no way could that be hers! Pep
wasn't going to stand still, she ran up to it and patted it.
"Hello." Cupid was grinning at her, and she couldn't help grinning like an
idiot herself.
"Is she mine, really?" Cupid nodded, Erin appeared at his shoulder and
nodded his own too.
"Like?"

Like? Gods how insane was that.
"Love!" She declared loudly and ran her fingers through the mane while the
horse investigated her.
"Love," and her eyes were watering, and the horse was butting her and making
funny noises. Oh this couldn't be happening. She turned abruptly and flung
her arms around both of them.
"Thank you, oh Zeus I love you guys, you're the best ever." She pulled away
and tried for serious face, managed a non-pout.
"That does it, if anyone messes with you guys I shall kick them most
severely in places I shouldn't even know about!" She flung her arms round
them and hugged them some more, then hugged them some more until Cupid
groaned and her arms twinged.

Then she let go and snuggled her horse.
"Hi horse, I'm Pep."
"It doesn't talk." Erin said and Pep could hear him grinning so she ignored
him. Oh she was so lovely, so soft and she smelt so nice, like hay and
horses. Mom couldn't find out about her, she was all Pep's. 'Oh what on
earth am I going to call you,' that didn't matter, she could think of a name
later, when she was a bit calmer and didn't feel like her chest was going to
burst with complete and total adoration. Yes, this was how you fell in love.
'Pep loves you horsey, she'll give you a good name, a strong name.' Maybe
Cupid and Erin had suggestions. She turned around.

They were kissing, proper kissing, and oddly enough it wasn't half as gross
as she'd thought it would be. They were both so cute and they looked like
something you'd buy as a pair and maybe she could look at them kissing some
more when they weren't looking. She knew for a fact she would appreciate it
a hell of a lot more if she was a few years older. Right now though being
thirteen won out. The horse beat the kissing by an inch. She cleared her
throat.

Cupid and Erin broke apart guiltily, Pep rolled her eyes at them. 'Be tough,
be smart, act like you don't care at all, if you go 'ew' they'll do it
somewhere else later where you can't see.'
"Oh Zeus you can kiss if you want to! I don't mind, just not too much, and
not at me!" Pep turned back to the mare.
"Well, one of you come kneel down, I'm only five foot two y'know!"



Title: Growing Up 27: Dreams
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Erin procures something interesting for Cupid's birthday.


Erin very carefully stepped into the room. Then he did his slow sneaky walk,
which involved a lot of legs and not much arm movement, up to the bed and
peered over the edge.

Morpheus was on his back, one arm thrown over his head, the other drawing
patterns on the white silk sheets. Erin stopped breathing, then tip toed
over to the dresser. He snuck a look back at the bed. Morpheus eyes
fluttered, head shifting, multi-coloured hair writhing across the pillow.
Erin fought the urge to giggle, which would ruin his entire plan.

He lifted both hands and clasped either side of the mirror, lifted it very
carefully out of it's brackets, froze when the decorative chain clinked.
'Shit' what the hell was he thinking. 'Ok too late now, grab the damn thing
and run like Tartarus!' He told the voice in his head that would be silly.
He'd snuck in and he was going to sneak out again. He hugged the mirror to
his chest, pinning the chains down and snuck another glance at Morpheus, who
was still breathing softly and completely oblivious.

He was going to be in so much trouble if he got caught, Morpheus would be
livid. On the other hand Cupid would be completely amazed, which was a risk
he was definitely willing to take, especially since they were...different
now. Well new at least, in a good way. He stepped around the bed, backed up
against the wall. He hadn't realised quite how heavy the damn thing was, it
was something you'd never be able to lift if you weren't a full god.

Cupid would hopefully be able to do it too soon, thank Zeus, it was a little
nerve wracking to kiss someone who you could break if you weren't careful.
Especially since the fact that he could kiss Cupid was still sort of
amazing. The mirror tried to slide down his chest and he snatched it, backed
out through the doors hunched, and flashed away.

---

He wasn't going to have to sneak past Aphrodite, since she wasn't there,
she'd probably notice if he was hugging something he really shouldn't be
wandering around with. Which was lucky because he hadn't really thought much
about hiding it. He had to knock with his foot.

"Come in." Erin glared at the doorknob until it turned, then he shoved the
door open. Cupid was sprawled on his bed, trying to yank on yet another pair
of boots his mother had seen fit to bestow on him. When he saw him he
grinned.

"Do you like them?" Erin rolled his eyes, then set the mirror down against
the wall and stepped round the bed. With a movement born of long practice he
grabbed Cupid's leg and thumped on the boot heel until it slid the rest of
the way.

"More shoes? Why must you have so many damn shoes, I have four pairs, I
can't even borrow them because you have such tiny feet." He reached down and
grabbed Cupid's elbow, hauled him up to a sit.

"I have your present." Cupid was instantly interested.
"But it's not the sort you can keep, I've borrowed it for you." That
provoked a frown and an eyebrow.
"Oh?" Erin turned around and picked the mirror up, lifted it onto the
dresser by simply shoving everything else out of the way.

"A big ass mirror, is this some kind of hint?" Erin could tell he was joking
so he ignored him.
"It's not just any mirror." Cupid frowned at it for a while, he'd get it in
a minute, Erin could wait. Right on cue Cupid made a funny noise, slid off
of the bed and went close, touched the glassy surface.
"Tell me this isn't Morpheus mirror?" Erin grinned.
"Ok it's not." Cupid tapped the glass again.
"How did you get this? Erin you are going to get in so much trouble it's
unbelievable." Erin shrugged, saying he didn't care would be silly. Cupid
was still staring at it.

"This is really 'his' mirror?" Erin nodded.
"Oh Zeus!" Cupid dropped to his knees and peered at it.
"Seriously?" Erin nodded again and he couldn't keep the stupid grin off of
his face because Cupid really did look amazed.
"No one's gonna know if we use it?" Erin shook his head. Cupid stared at it
again, not that he could see himself, the glass on the mirror was a soft
purple.

"So we can really use it." Cupid stood up, spread his wings for balance and
peered closer.
"I can't see anything." Erin chuckled at his disappointment.
"Sit down Cupe and stop panicking, I know how it works." Cupid did sit down
but only just, legs ready to unfold if anything interesting happened.

"Tell me." Erin sat down next to him.
"Give me a name?" Cupid blinked.
"Holy shit...umm...Mom?" Erin made a noise.
"Is that wise? What if it's porn?" Cupid shook his head.
"Right, right, ok someone harmless...Hebe?" Erin had to admit that was a
good idea, he leant forward and touched the surface of the mirror.
"Hebe,"

The purple faded, was slowly replaced by field of yellow flowers. Erin
watched, curious himself as the Goddess of Youth burst upwards out of the
flowers, head visible, she said something which wasn't audible and watched a
stream of rabbits flow past, through the flora. Then she disappeared again
in the yellow, which in the blink of an eye wasn't yellow anymore but an
orange sea. It looked like Hebe was swimming in orange juice, well wading in
orange juice.
'I told them, I told them a thousand times,' Hebe pointed out to the orange
gloop, then glared at it.

"Ok," Cupid offered.
"What's going on?" Erin shrugged but didn't take his eyes off the mirror.
"I dunno, it's a dream remember, the chances of it making sense are pretty
much slim to none."
"Why is Hebe telling off orange stuff?" Erin shrugged again.
"Maybe it's supposed to symbolise something, something that she has a close
relationship with and is orange?" He very clearly heard Cupid mutter
'Apollo' under his breath and smirked.
"Yeah, like Apollo-Oh look changing!"

It did, Hebe became smaller, in fact the smallest person in the whole damn
world and she was sitting on a couch, which was so huge, she was clinging
onto a button which was the size of a chariot wheel and waving desperately
at the normal sized figures seated around her.
'Hello, hello, I have a point to make!'

Cupid couldn't make out most of the figures because they were so grotesquely
big, but one of them had enough facial hair to be his father, the nostrils
looked familiar anyway.

"Ares is pretty scary fifty feet high." Erin offered.
"Why is Hebe so tiny?" Cupid pointed until his fingernail touched Hebe's
head. Erin pulled his hands away from the mirror.
"I dunno, I suppose everyone ignores her at the meetings so she might as
well be the size of a flea!"
"Still it's not the sort of thing you'd dream about." Erin considered it for
a minute.
"I dunno, you could get up to some pretty neat stuff if you were that tiny."
"Right up until someone sat on you." Cupid pointed out. Erin laughed,
"You think that would stop me, seriously we should try it some time, ask dad
how to get tiny and we could go exploring." Cupid shook his head.
"I think I'm with Pep on that one, I'd be scared of getting stomped on."
Erin wouldn't let go of the idea though.
"No seriously we could investigate the garden, take some mini swords and
club bugs with them." Cupid rolled his eyes, went back to trying to work out
who some of the other figures were. One of them could possibly be Asclepius,
the hair was the right shade, but it could just as easily be Helios.

"Can I pick someone else?" Erin shrugged, he'd bring up the tiny thing again
later.
"Sure, knock yourself out." Cupid leant closer and touched the surface.
"Helios."

The mirror wobbled briefly, then switched.

Cupid's eyes went wide, Erin frowned and peered closer. Very slowly a grin
appeared on Cupid's face, then widened. Erin was shaking his head.
"Why is Helios wearing a dress?" A brief pause then a correction.
"Ok most of a dress."
"What is he doing?" Erin wanted to know, because that was seriously weird.
The scene swirled and changed.

Helios was still wearing his mostly dress, but this time he was trying his
best to stuff something into a very large box. When he'd finished he sat on
it and made a pleased sound, the box leaked, then he calmly started eating a
bowl of grapes. Cupid and Erin both yelped when the box underneath him
exploded and something flew out. Helios didn't look happy, in fact the box
reappeared good as new and he started all over again.

"Ok, Helios needs therapy!" Erin leant closer, Cupid followed him.
"Is that another person? Tell me that's not another person, what the
Tartarus is he doing? What's with the butterfly wings, is that Apollo?"
Cupid grunted.
"Whoever it is Helios doesn't like him much." Cupid and Erin both winced at
the same time, when Helios sat on the lid and proceeded to bounce on it
enthusiastically.

---

Three hours later they were watching Athena be buried alive.
"Morpheus must have a serious beef with her, no wonder she never sleeps."
Cupid had to agree, in fact the face of the gravedigger who was cheerfully
flinging dirt at his aunt did look suspiciously like a twisted Morpheus.
Which was why it was never a good idea to piss off the god of dreams, he
could get you wherever you were, whenever.

"It is kind of funny though." Cupid gave him a curious look. Erin waved a
hand at the mirror.
"Oh look, look at the gravediggers face, he's all grinning and laughing
through his teeth and Athena's all covered in mud, she doesn't look scared
exactly, just really pissed and completely helpless." Cupid had another
look, Athena actually didn't look all that scared and it was sort of funny
watching the quasi-Morpheus fling dirt at her, laughing like a loon. It
skipped ahead and the gravedigger started patting down the mound of dirt
while Athena's obscenities could still be heard floating through the layers.

Cupid couldn't help it, it was sort of funny, especially when the
gravedigger started hammering a tombstone into the earth which had a rather
rude limerick on it, which Athena had probably never done in her entire
life. Cupid started laughing, he couldn't help it, he hadn't know dreams
could be so funny. He flopped backwards on the bed. The dream ended with
Morpheus doing a little dance over the grave, which set Erin off, then the
mirror swirled blank.

Cupid stared at the ceiling and tried very hard to stop sniggering.
"You're gonna be in so much trouble." Erin grinned down at him.
"Did you like?" Cupid nodded, then pulled his friend down so he could lay
his cheek against Erin's.
"Yeah, I like, thank you." Erin grinned some more, then lifted a hand and
sent it through Cupid's hair, which was way softer than his would ever be,
Cupid shut his eyes and made a pleased noise.

"Erin?"
"Hmm?" Cupid cracked an eye open and stared across at him.
"What do you dream about?" Erin raised his head enough to peer at the
mirror. Wondered where this was going.
"Stuff." Cupid grinned at the ceiling for a minute, then snuck a glance
across the bed.

"Can I see?" Erin's eyes flickered from one side to the other.
"Er...ok." Cupid looked surprised.
"Really?" Erin looked at him, then sighed and flung a hand over his stomach.
"Yeah." Cupid lurched upright sent his hand towards the mirror. Erin grabbed
him by his belt and pulled him back again.
"Unless it starts with me hitting a crab with a spade, not that one!" Cupid
raised an eyebrow and Erin actually went red.
"No it's not like that, it's nasty, trust me." Cupid shrugged.
"Er ok." He leant for the mirror again.

"I get to see yours too right." Cupid's fingers bumped the glass and he
nearly leant too far off of the bed.
"Umm," he shut his mouth, but was aware of Erin grinning at him.
"They're not very...they're sort of...rubbish...boring, lots of boring
stuff, you wouldn't like them." He turned round a bit, Erin wasn't looking
very believing, Cupid went red, then realised he'd have to work out how not
to do that one day. He growled and turned around again where Erin couldn't
see him.

"They're just..." Erin sat up and the bed swayed. Long arms wrapped round
his waist and Cupid looked at the gently swirling mirror.
"They're..." Erin settled his head on Cupid's shoulder.
"Cupe do you have naughty dreams about me?" Cupid shut his mouth, the room
had gone completely silent, he could hear the wood in the ceiling creaking,
and the rustle of the curtains, which was very interesting. Erin's arm
tightened round his waist, and Cupid found himself nodding without really
thinking about it.

Erin sucked a breath next to his ear. Cupid had the oddest feeling Erin
hadn't expected him to say anything. He could have gotten away with not
admitting anything. He could have probably gotten away with it if he laughed
right now, anytime now, he was still nodding though. Oh God why was he
nodding? Erin's arm wound even tighter.
"Really?" He sounded a little amazed, though his voice wasn't quite as flat
as it normally was, Cupid nodded again.

Erin's fingers tightened again at his side and Cupid held his breath.
"Yes," wow his voice was loud. Erin's head leant against his.
"That's not a bad thing though right?" Cupid caught the hitch, just on the
edge of the question. Erin really wasn't sure. Cupid shook his head mutely.

Then stopped because Erin was running his mouth against the shell of Cupid's
ear. He shut his eyes and let his head drop backwards slightly, made a small
sound in his throat. Erin's mouth slid lower and sharp teeth nipped his
earlobe. He purred, didn't resist when Erin tugged him round, took his head
in both hands and kissed him.

Cupid lifted his hands, grasped Erin's shoulders and went awkwardly to his
knees until he could lean into Erin. It wasn't like the other times, he
couldn't remember ever kissing Erin with so much stuff underneath it.

It was different in his room, on his bed, he'd never felt less like a child
in his life. In fact Cupid felt something he couldn't remember ever feeling,
he felt half naked, which was silly. He was half naked, it wasn't like he
could go put a shirt on, but it did give him the strongest urge to slide
Erin's shirt off and see how he liked it. That thought threatened to pull
him somewhere he hadn't really thought about much, and his head was making
sure he thought about it now, a lot.

He was still holding Erin's shoulders, and Erin was still kissing him. Only
one hand was spread out at the base of his spine and the other was very
carefully folding his wings, and just the slightest brush there sent the
sort of signals through him that were more demanding than coherent.
Desperate may have been a better word, that was when he started shaking, he
didn't have a clue why, he liked it a lot, more than a lot if there was such
a word.

He liked it enough that if Erin wanted to stop and lock the door then that
would be pretty much ok with him. That thought didn't help the shaking one
bit, it made it a million times worse.

It was enough for Erin to pull away. Looking nervous and apologetic.
"Are you ok? Did I do something?" Cupid shook his head and forced his limbs
into some semblance of order. Swallowed and tightened his hold on Erin's
shoulders.
"No, I'm good." He went forward, settled his mouth over Erin's again. Erin
was still for a minute, then his lips moved, hand re-clasping at the base of
Cupid's spine. It was the other one though, the one just underneath his
wings that was making Cupid tremble.

Erin lifted that hand and slid it between the feathers, pulled gently, the
tension spread his wings. It seemed incredibly important that Erin knew how
to do that but Cupid couldn't think why, especially when his back hit the
bed. Erin pulled back a little and looked at him, one hand settled on his
chest, Erin looked at it, left it there. Cupid didn't feel silly in the
slightest looking up at him.

"Erin?" The head tilted, earrings jangling.
"Yeah?"
"Do you think maybe we should lock the door?" He would have sworn Erin
stopped breathing, the hand pressed down against his chest and the sensation
made him take a deep breath.
"Do you want to lock the door?" Erin's voice sounded unsteady, which was
reassuring. Definitely hopeful though, under a dozen other conflicting
emotions, all of which Cupid shared. This was Erin though and Cupid realised
exactly how much he'd give him if he asked. He nodded without hesitation.

Though Cupid wasn't sure he could work up the concentration to lock the door
from here. Erin solved it, without a word he waved his other hand and the
tiniest click was perfectly audible. He stared at Cupid for a long time,
chewing his lip, then leant down and kissed him again, and Cupid had no
reservation about lifting his arms and wrapping them around Erin's back.

Erin's shirt had slid up from his waist and Cupid's fingers encountered a
slash of skin. He made a soft noise into Erin's mouth and pulled the shirt
high enough so he could flatten a hand there.

That was when Erin froze and pulled back, slipping out of Cupid's arms.
"Erin?" Mostly the begginings of panic but he couldn't help how totally
bereft he sounded. Erin's eyes flickered, then fixed on the wall.
"Ares is calling me." Cupid blinked at the ceiling.
"Oh."
"Yeah" Erin agreed. Cupid struggled up onto his elbows, feeling awkward and
caught out now.

Erin slid backwards and sat on the edge of the bed, running his hands
through his hair and tugging his shirt straight, he looked ruffled and Cupid
definitely liked him like that. He sat up and wrapped his arms round Erin's
waist, was relieved when his friend gave a short confused chuckle and pulled
his arms tighter. Though he couldn't help but notice he also hiked then a
little higher than his waist, Cupid grinned against Erin's shoulder.

"I'll come back later ok," Erin cleared his throat.
"Since your Mom's determined to embarrass you in front of numerous
relatives." Cupid nodded.
"Is that ok?" Cupid nodded again.
"Uh huh, you better see what Dad wants." Erin tilted his head until he could
kiss him again.

"I don't want to go," Cupid grinned didn't resist the urge to tease.
"You can make it up to me another time." Erin's eyes half shut and he
growled, actually growled at him. Cupid had to swallow hard, half way to
promising to stay here until Erin got back, Mom be damned.

Erin apparently didn't read that in his face because he vanished before
Cupid could open his mouth. He stared at the spot where he'd been sat. Then
promptly fell back on the bed and flung a trembling hand over his eyes.
"Fuck!"



Title: Growing Up 28: Words
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Conversations, advice, old friends and new friends.



"Cupid are you planning to concentrate some time today? It's all very well
being able to do this with you eyes closed but your hands have to be in this
universe!" Cupid blinked, stared at what he was doing, which at this point,
was absolutely nothing, save for the staring.

Artemis didn't look pissed, which probably should have said something about
the frequency with which his mind wandered. Instead she was leaning against
the apple tree, her own bow tapping a rhythm against her thigh.

"Sorry." He said flatly, tried to shake some of the fluff out of his head.
He would have dutifully carried on whatever Artemis had wanted him to do but
he'd completely forgotten what that was. Now he was going to end up looking
absent minded and stupid.
"What were we doing?" Artemis sighed loudly, through her nose.

"You were nodding along raptly enough, and considering I was talking about
you I'm surprised you zoned out." Cupid's brows had a mini spasm.
"You were?"
"Mmm hmm," this probably wasn't good. Though on the plus side if it had been
a lecture and he'd missed it, he was crushed. Artemis was employing dirty
mind reading tricks, either that or his facial expressions were giving him
away.
"Actually I was congratulating you on your progress, areas where you've
improved, but I'm sure you wouldn't want me to repeat it all."

Cupid groaned, he was fairly sure she wouldn't repeat it, even if he asked
really nicely.

"Spill it, you've looked like someone stole your ice cream all morning." He
fiddled with his own bow and shrugged.
"I dunno, just stuff." Artemis squinted at him,
"It's complicated, it's about Erin." Artemis rolled her eyes.

"Oh for Zeus sake Cupid just sleep with him and stop agonising over it, you
obviously want to, he obviously wants to, I don't see a problem here."
Cupid was thrown by the bluntness, he stood there with his mouth open and
tried to think of something to say. Artemis gave a funny little sigh and
rested her bow against her hip.

"Oh don't tell me you're still a virgin, you have done it before haven't
you?" Cupid was hugely tempted to glare at her but doubted it would make
much difference.
"Yes." She waved a negligent hand.
"Right well there you go, you know where everything goes, get on with it!"
Cupid went red, that was the sort of advice he'd expect from his father.
Artemis apparently didn't think it was complicated at all, which was
horribly unfair.

---


Erin peered between his knees at the floor.
"I mean we nearly, at least I think we did, nearly...Zeus." Erin's head
flopped into his cupped hands and he scrubbed it furiously. He raised his
head again, almost violently.
"It's just...I dunno, intense, is it supposed to be this intense?" Erin
flicked his gaze to Phonos, who was sprawled on the marble next to him.
Sword laid across his lap, leaning on his elbows.

Phonos didn't look bothered at being used as a bouncing board, Phonos never
looked much of anything, except for that one time they'd caught him in some
seriously compromising positions with Bacchus, Erin was starting to wonder
if that was the only time he had an entire facial expression.

He cocked his head in Erin's direction.
"Sex? Sex is almost always intense, it's the nature of the beast." Erin
sighed.
"No not sex, the before bit, the-"
"Foreplay?" Phonos suggested and how on earth did he make it sound painful?
"No...well not exactly, the other bit." Phonos lifted an eyebrow.
"There's another bit, I don't think anyone told me about it." Erin rolled
his eyes, Phonos wasn't helping here, he was trying to be serious.

"I mean, there was all that shit with Triton and...he was funny about it for
a while. Do you think I should get him something, I didn't technically get
him an actual birthday present, not a proper one. It's not that though."
Erin pushed his hands furiously through his hair.
"Just something, I don't want him to think...shit, I mean he got his head
filled with that rubbish and I don't want him doing it just because he
thinks he's supposed to." Erin shut up and looked at Phonos.

Who was blinking at him in a combination of confusion and amusement. Erin
chose to ignore the expression and go with the eyebrow that might possibly
have meant 'Really, elaborate?'

"Nothing crap, like chocolate, or flowers, or other stuff, he's gonna get a
mountain of that in his lifetime." Phonos sighed, but seemed to be making
the effort to think about it.
"Kill one of his enemies."
"Phonos!"
"I was being serious, nothing says 'I love you' like the severed head of an
enemy." Erin made an annoyed noise.
"I don't think Cupid would appreciate a severed head, he's not really the
type." Phonos had a tiny smile.
"Aah but what would you do if he brought you the head of someone you
detested." Erin didn't even want to go there.
"Look can we drop the severed heads?" Phonos lifted a shoulder in what might
have been a shrug.

"I want to get him something, just because, he deserves something at least.
I don't want him to think I'm obsessed, I'm not obsessed." Phonos raised an
eyebrow at him. Erin flopped his head back.
"Ok maybe a little bit, shit you should have seen him though, I mean at
first I though maybe it was a safe thing, y'know cos we're friends, but it
didn't feel like that and I don't want him to think like that dammit. I want
this to be a thing. So I want to get him something."

Phonos eyed him carefully.
"I don't think it's him you're trying to placate and appease." Erin blinked
at him. Phonos rolled his eyes, rephrased his statement.
"You want to fuck him and you're feeling guilty about it, aren't you?" Erin
couldn't have opened his mouth and replied if he wanted to, it was probably
best that he was in a state of muteness because there was a strong urge to
hit Phonos and that definitely wouldn't be a good idea. Phonos tilted his
head to one side.
"I'll take that as a yes." Phonos sighed loudly.
"But it's no excuse to sit there like a slack jawed imbecile." Phonos shook
his head and went on before Erin could think of anything to say.

"Strife he's love, he expects it and you're still staring at each other and
blushing, you make me feel incredibly old." Erin was about to point out that
Phonos didn't look old, since that had been a harmless enough statement,
that his brain could actually provide an answer to.

"I don't blame you though, he is beautiful, isn't he?" Erin gave Phonos a
very cautious look.
"What do you mean?"
"Exactly what I say, he's beautiful." Erin was oddly jealous that other
people had noticed, though it wasn't the sort of thing you could keep
secret. Phonos was grinning at him.
"Oh I wouldn't worry, if he is a bird then I am most definitely a cat,
sooner or later I'd eat him alive." Erin definitely wasn't reassured by
that, especially since Phonos was wearing that little half smile.

"Really Strife don't worry so, if I was going to fuck anyone it would be
you." With that startling and disturbing piece of information Phonos lifted
his sword and started to walk back to the combat ring.


---

'Why was this so difficult?' Cupid didn't know, he really didn't. All he did
know was that it was important and he was confused and definitely worried.
Last night he'd had a dream that he'd walked into a really beautiful room
and someone had switched the light off. Ok so that didn't really help as
dreams went but it was as good as his head could do at the minute, was he
the room? It sounded sort of cryptic and maybe a little stupid. Oh well it
was worth a try. He veered along the west corridor and knocked on Asclepius
temple doors.

Which opened, he stayed on the threshold for a minute because his room dream
was getting more and more stupid by the minute. In fact he was quite
possibly about to make a total idiot of himself in front of one of the
people he respected most.

"Hello Cupid, what can I do for you?" Which pretty much banned him from
changing his mind and running away. He stepped inside, felt the doors sway
shut behind him.
"Hi Asclepius, you're not busy are you?" Though Asclepius was pretty much
just blonde hair over the top of a pile of scrolls and silver instruments.
"Not at all, which is a good thing I'm assured, even if it does make me feel
a trifle useless." A smile appeared to go with the hair and Asclepius stood
up and waved him gracefully to a stool.

Cupid sat down, and felt even sillier sitting down, he spent the next few
seconds thinking desperately of something he could be here for which didn't
involve his dream. Didn't think 'I wasn't feeling well' was going to cut it.
Asclepius was already leaning into the pause and he was looking so helpful
and nice and any minute now something stupid was going to come out of
Cupid's mouth.

"I had a really strange dream." Oh dear, there it went, he'd done it now, he
might as well move along with it. Asclepius was smiling.
"That's part of what I do you know, it's not always Morpheus, and Divine
dreams can be stranger than most."
"I...I know." Great now he was feeling guilty that he didn't have a really
cool dream to share. He was feeling guilty for his own stupid dream.

"It wasn't that interesting, I was just-" he looked at Asclepius who nodded
and smiled and looked so damn reassuring.
"I was in this really cool room, I'd never seen it before but it was
amazing, really huge and bright and full of stuff. There were paintings and
statues and stuff, scrolls with pictures on, a window with an amazing view."
Cupid stopped, there'd been a lot of other stuff too, but he couldn't
remember, he hadn't really had long to look.

"Then someone turned the lights off." Cupid shrugged
"It went completely dark and I couldn't see anything, nothing at all."
Asclepius was still smiling at him.
"Is that bad?" Asclepius smiled a little more and leant on his desk.
"No it's not bad at all." Well that was alright, that had to be good, if it
wasn't a bad dream.

He'd really hate for Morpheus to be pissed at him and end up having dirt
thrown at him for the next century. It wasn't like he borrowed the mirror
after all. He realised he hadn't said anything for a while. Asclepius hadn't
laughed about the dream so maybe?

"It's not just that, there's other stuff, stuff to do with my Godhood."
Asclepius face looked a little more serious. Cupid couldn't believe he'd
actually said it, but of course now it was out of his mouth so he might as
well push on, 'you're turning into your father' his brain supplied.
"Yes?" Asclepius offered. Cupid took a breath, chewed his cheek.
"It keeps reaching out...it keeps touching people." Asclepius made a very
small noise, laid a hand across his mouth, coughed into it.
"Oh Cupid that's perfectly natural with your Godhood, it's very friendly
after all." Cupid shook his head.
"Some people don't like it, I know my dad doesn't and...other people, people
I like, it's embarrassing and confusing, especially if it's someone I like."
Cupid rocked back on his chair a little. Asclepius looked at him for a
moment.

"Cupid are you in love?" Cupid stared at him, 'say no' which seemed stupid
since he was Asclepius.
"Yes," he said quietly and quite flatly because he figured Love in Love
could be serious at least. 'Oh my life isn't complicated, not a bit.'
Asclepius was nodding.
"I haven't told him, I think he knows, I hope he knows, he should know."
Cupid gave up and just stared at Asclepius, who was blinking quite
frantically.

It took him a second to work out that Asclepius was blushing, oh Zeus. He
could do nothing but stick his hands out and try to cause as little offence
as possible.
"No Asclepius no, not you, I mean not that I wouldn't, or that you're...not
you someone else." Cupid finished his mini speech an even lovelier colour
than Asclepius, after which they both blinked at each other and laughed in
horrible nervousness.

"Sorry," Cupid offered quietly, Asclepius had stopped going red at least.
"Well that was embarrassing." He offered quietly and laughed again. Cupid
chewed his lip, he felt awkward about going on now. Asclepius cleared his
throat, his face was carefully sliding back into that reassuring face.

"No, umm, Erin." Cupid tried to find something else to look at, something
harmless.
"He doesn't like it though and I want to stop doing it, it gets
really...intense when my Godhood starts doing funny things." Cupid went red
again, he really would have to learn how to stop doing that, Love Gods
really should not be wandering around blushing at everything.

He stared around the temple instead, it didn't look anything like his
mothers. It was way too formal, almost flat. He'd known Asclepius all his
life and realised he knew almost nothing about him. What did he do when he
wasn't mending people and listening to Cupid whine? Didn't he ever get sick
of this? He decided to ask, Asclepius was his cousin after all.

"Don't you ever get sick of people coming to you with all their problems?"
Asclepius looked startled then smiled, shrugged gently.
"It's what I do, I don't just heal the body you know, people hurt in so many
different ways." Cupid looked around.
"I know but don't you ever want someone to moan and complain at, just for a
change." Asclepius laughed gently.
"Sometimes definitely," Cupid shrugged.
"Will I do?" He was surprised when something very odd flickered through
Asclepius eyes, something almost desperate. Maybe Asclepius did the nodding
and looking reassuring really well but he had to have problems too. Who did
he get to talk to? Cupid had pretty much had enough of his own, someone
elses sounded like great therapy.
"Are you offering?" Cupid stood, leant and felt brave enough to hold out a
hand.
"I know this great place by the lake where no one can hear you swearing."
Asclepius smiled.

---

Erin peered round the door, ok this could work, talk to someone who wasn't
depraved and didn't think murder was the way to a man's heart, or more
accurately, into his pants. He had to give Phonos credit though, he'd tried,
oh and then creeped him out so badly that Erin had a burning need to tell
someone about that as well. He stepped inside, couldn't help looking up at
the cabinets, which never failed to impress him, or make him think of a tiny
cosmos.

Had Janus ever been to a place which sparkled like this. It seemed likely,
maybe if Erin asked nice he'd take him and Cupid there some day. The temple
was deserted so he ventured into the back room, pushed aside the silver
curtain.

Janus was there, he was working though, a Bacchae three times his size was
laid on the main table and was watching Janus work on his stomach. Though he
wasn't inking today, he had a damn great needle and was threading a chain
through the Bacchae's navel.

It looked like it should be painful but the Bacchae had his eyes fixed
firmly on Janus. He could have been eyeing him up but he wasn't, he was
looking at him like he expected the long hands to turn and drive the needle
straight through his abdomen. He obviously hadn't been here before. Janus
took his work very seriously. The lone green eye swivelled, caught Erin
standing by the doorway.

"Come in and sit down, I'm almost finished." The eye swivelled back, caught
the Bacchae's own pair briefly, then went back to work. Erin hiked himself
onto a stool and watched, if Bacchae's could sweat the guy would be stuck to
the chair by now. Erin couldn't figure that out, Janus had been doing this
for a long time, why would he make a mistake now, and with a new guy at
that.

"You're finished Mortanius." Janus offered, lifting the needle and setting
it down. Mortanius promptly let loose an explosive and unnecessary sigh of
relief, which Erin thought was just a little rude. He slid out of the chair
and stood. Went to leave, swayed back towards the God of Gateways.
"My Lord." Janus 'hmmed,' Mortanius practically scuttled from the room, Erin
had never seen a grown man scuttle before.

As soon as the bloodsucker had vacated the room Erin hauled himself up onto
the table.
"You busy?" Janus settled back in his chair.
"Not any more." Erin kicked his legs, then picked up a tray of tiny studs
and started fiddling with them.
"So it's cool if I talk to you?" Janus leant back in his chair until it
creaked.
"Of course." Erin sighed and played with the little metal balls some more.

His eyes flicked to the doorway, where the chains still swayed.
"Doesn't that bother you?" he nodded his head after the Bacchae. Janus
tilted his head in that direction, then very slowly shook it.
"It'd bother me, being creeped around like I was poisonous." Janus offered a
tiny smile and Erin got the impression that sometimes he sort of liked to be
a little toxic to know. He realised he was stalling.

"Well to start with Phonos wants to sleep with me, though I think he just
said it to either creep me out or get rid of me." Erin's eyes flickered
sideways then back again before they could actually get to Janus face.
"I think he was being distracting and screwing with my head, he does that
really well." Janus nodded agreement, Erin saw the long spike of hair swish,
but never quite enough to slide away from the other half of his face.

"Phonos can indeed be psychologically destructive to those around him."
"He's a head fucker!" Erin agreed, Janus smirked.
"I don't hate him or anything, he's the business, he just wasn't very
helpful."
"Then I'm to assume your problem rests elsewhere...your little bird
perhaps?" Erin squirmed, thought about denying that Cupid was his anything,
but he didn't want to, and besides Janus always had two meanings to
everything he said.

"Sharp," he offered instead, cos everyone liked compliments.
"Sometimes I cut myself." Janus said very softly, but the words were utterly
devoid of any humour. Ok most everyone liked compliments. Which was pretty
much why everyone tip toed around Janus. There was so much stuff under
there. Phonos once said talking to him was like wading through broken glass.
Erin liked him, he was honest and he didn't take crap and he did what he did
really well.

Janus was the most controlled person he knew, which was really nice for a
change. Erin looked down at the tray, slid a long silver tooth out from
under some studs and played with it. Janus chair creaked and he took it in
long cold fingers.
"Why don't I work while you talk?" Which was as close as Janus got to an
apology. Erin glanced longingly at the silver tooth.
"My ears are all full." Janus simply smiled.



Title: Growing Up 29: Precognition
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: More conversation, disagreement and general cuteness.
Note: I'm not General Tacticius, but Erin's gotta know this so if you're
sniggering at my military tactics be extremely smug!



"Ok, umm, a three pronged assault at your left flank, ratio of three to one,
solution?" Erin frowned at the ceiling, Cupid waved the scroll in his
direction.
"Solution?"
"I'm thinking about it." Cupid smirked, then bounced on the bed.
"All your men are being killed." Erin glared at him.
"Fall back, reintegrate with the main force?" Cupid looked down at the
scroll, sucked a breath through his teeth.
"By the skin of your teeth." Erin scowled some more.

Cupid scanned the list and picked another one.
"Pending attack from rear, mounted, downhill, ratio unknown, solution?" Erin
lifted his head.
"The thingies, what are they called?" Cupid raised an eyebrow.
"Logs with spikes driven into them, you roll them downhill and they cripple
horses." Cupid pulled a face.
"Gee, War is so pleasant."
"I can't remember what they're called." Cupid read the solution and
shuddered.
"You should hear some of the other options and I thought Dad liked horses!"
"Does it say what they're called?" Cupid shook his head, he really didn't
want to know, it was gross.

He shook his head again and found another one.
"Ok, fortified town, forces six days pending, ratio six to one, surrounding
countryside, farmland, solution?" Erin didn't hesitate this time.
"Burn it." Cupid raised an eyebrow, Erin waved a hand from where he was
sprawled.
"The army starves on it's way to you, starving men don't put up much of a
fight." Cupid glared at the scroll in utter disgust.
"You have to learn all this? This is War stuff, why are you learning this?"
Erin shrugged from his position on the floor, Cupid leant over a little
farther.

"You're supposed to be God of Mischief, not Carnage, some of this is gross."
Erin shrugged awkwardly.
"I dunno, Ares thinks it's important." Cupid pointedly held the scroll up by
a corner and glared at it.
"What for? Your pending reign of terror?" Erin grinned at him.
"That wasn't meant to be a joke y'know." Erin stopped grinning and rolled
his eyes.

"This isn't the only thing I'm learning you know, it's just the stuff I keep
forgetting." Cupid snorted at the scroll, then growled and tossed it over
his shoulder. Erin raised an eyebrow at him.
"It was depressing me, besides you know it all, more or less." Erin didn't
look placated.

"Did I or did I not spend all last week pouring blue ooze into tiny bottles
with you?" Cupid's eyes slid to the side. That was actually true, Erin had
spent almost two entire days helping him replace, ergo remake, Mom's entire
stock of GLB. Which was blue and smelt like coconut. Erin had complained
that Ares kept giving him highly suspicious looks and making sure he was
actually in his room.
"He wouldn't leave me alone!" Uh oh, thinking out loud again.

"Not surprising with me wandering around all blue fingered and smelling like
an oiled up Bacchae." Cupid blinked, ooh bad mental images and that was an
understatement. He really should not be thinking things like that where Erin
could overhear them and...overhear them. He completely missed whatever Erin
said next.
"- thrown in the pond naked, which probably wouldn't have helped one bit."
Cupid tried to rewind but couldn't, that was what happened when you weren't
listening. Oh and for the love of Zeus think about something else.

"I tried telling him you hit the whole lot trying to get your boot off, and
who's the one who got the long lecture about stealing Dite's stuff for
personal use!" Cupid had the grace to go red, since he pretty much had free
reign with his Mom's stuff.
"I don't even know what half the stuff does, or whether I'm supposed to
drink it or smash it over my head." Cupid rolled his eyes.
"Oh it's alright for you, you didn't get dragged along those shelves like
some kind of merchant learning all the names and abbreviations and how to
make them." Erin scowled up at him.

"No I just get tugged through the armoury like three times a day to learn
exactly how many spikes a mace has, and the perfect curve of a scimitar, and
the proper way to hold a double bladed axe." Cupid yawned theatrically.

"Oh you think that's boring, wait til I get to tactical battle plans-"
"I see your tactical battle plans and raise you six hours worth of changing
wedding ceremonies throughout the last four thousand years!" Erin leant up
on his elbows.
"What about my refresher course in agriculture?"
"Flower arranging." Cupid offered pointedly.
"Child development."
"Three hour poetry seminar." Cupid raised flatly, Erin scowled, kicked the
bed with a foot.

"Four hours learning five thousand different types of knot." Cupid lost his
blank face and sniggered into a hand. Erin kicked the bed again.
"Not funny!" Cupid pointed at him and roared.
"Knot funny!" He was making the bed jiggle, he had to hunch up and laugh
into his own knees. Erin kicked the bed a third time. There was a horrendous
crack and the leg snapped.

Cupid yelped and clutched the sheets, which slid when the mattress did. He
made a noise which was half hysterical laugh, half squeal and swayed off the
edge, hit the floor in a ball, still laughing. Erin was looking at his foot
in abject horror, which only made Cupid laugh harder, until he realised
exactly how unnerved Erin looked.

He shoved his wing back off of his head.
"It's only a bed." Erin glared and crossed his legs, sighed.
"I'm not supposed to get mad enough to break stuff, Phonos says it's the
difference between a good soldier and a dead soldier." Cupid still held the
opinion that Phonos was creepy.
"You're not a soldier you're a God, besides I've broken loads of stuff."
Cupid knelt up and tried to shift his bed straight, it was currently listing
very drunkenly amidst a pile of splinters.

"Try it when you get really strong." Erin muttered, he looked like he wanted
to help but he was stubbornly keeping his arms crossed. Cupid sat on his
bed, bounced a few times while it groaned in warning, then shrugged and
flopped onto it. He'd worry about the nasty crunch later.

"Besides you're cute when you're mad." Erin blinked, spluttered and went
slightly pink, scowled at him.
"Oh I can't believe I said that?" It hadn't sounded half as pathetic in his
head. Erin tilted his head to one side. Maybe not the sort of thing you
should admit to out loud, it wasn't a bad thing though right? Erin was cute,
especially when he was mad.
"Sorry," Erin looked away but Cupid could see him smirking.

"I see you."
"Oh shut up." Cupid smiled at him.
"Erin don't worry, Dad throws stuff around all the time." Cupid shrugged.
"So does my Mom." So did your Mom, but he wasn't going to add that. He
figured it was a petulant God thing.
"I don't like getting mad." Cupid rolled his eyes and leant on his arms.
"And I don't like throwing stuff, I refuse to turn into my Mother." Cupid
stretched an arm out until he could grab Erin by the boot and tug on it.
"You won't, do you see me strutting around in tight black leather commanding
people to kneel." Erin blinked, cleared his throat. Cupid let go and smiled
at him. Was Erin thinking what he thought he was thinking?

//Erin?// Erin shook his head, looked up.
"Hmm?" Oh he was, he had to be, and now Cupid was thinking exactly the same
thing. Erin looked away.

Cupid shuffled forward a little, because when Erin turned around again he
was going to tug him over here and kiss some sense into him, even if
it...took a while. Erin's head swung back.

"I saw you talking to Asclepius." Cupid stopped moving, Erin was frowning at
him. Cupid rolled his eyes.
"And?" One of Erin's eyes twitched, they were doing that almost as much as
they used to, Cupid didn't like it at all.
"Oh Erin we weren't doing anything, he was just talking to me. He's nice you
know." Erin stopped scowling.
"Yeah, I know."
"And shy, I didn't realise before because he always knows what he's doing,
but when you take him outside he's shy, he's only a hundred years older than
us you know." Erin made a noise of affirmation. He didn't sound happy
though.

Cupid fiddled with a stray piece of sheet, then sighed.
"Ok what's your problem with Ace?" Erin scowled at the nickname, was Erin
actually jealous?
"Are you jealous?" Erin narrowed his eyes and slid them in Cupid's
direction.
"Should I be?" Cupid sat there with his mouth open for a minute, then
frowned and shook his head.
"No," he shook it some more when Erin still looked annoyed.
"No, Gods Erin, what is it? You've been funny since we-" Cupid shut his
mouth and swiped a hand over his face, exhaled.

Erin slid across the carpet to sit below him.
"I'm sorry." Cupid swung his legs off the end of the bed then shuffled off
the edge, landed opposite Erin.
"Erin what's the matter?" Cupid had a horrible feeling it was him, he didn't
want it to be him. Was Erin having second thoughts about the whole thing?
Which wasn't a happy thought at all, he loved Erin, he wanted Erin, the
world couldn't be cruel enough to let him figure that out and then take it
away.

"We're doing such different things, I didn't expect us to be so completely
in different houses." Cupid nodded, he'd known but you never realised until
it happened. He prodded Erin until he looked at him.

"Someday we'll be old and we'll have temples, priests, responsibilities and
more worshippers than you can shake a stick at." Erin chuckled at the
phrase.
"That doesn't mean we won't ever see each other, Tartarus let the love birds
go hang and people can be mischievous on their own. Gods can sneak off,
we're Gods but we're not like 'The Gods', the world won't crumble if we
sneak away." Cupid curled an arm round Erin's waist.

"I know, I know we'll see each other but at the minute I've got so much
stuff to do and you're busy down on earth." Erin shoved his toe into the
carpet, then sighed loudly.
"Is it pathetic to tell you I miss you?" Oh Gods what he wouldn't give to
hear that again, and all he could do was shake his head. This wasn't bad,
this was good, this was better than good.

"I've got all this rubbish I panic about and I know I'm supposed to tell you
but you've got stuff to panic over too." Cupid shunted Erin with a shoulder.
"Your stuff is my stuff, remember." Erin tugged a hand through his hair
until it stuck up in all directions.

"I know, I hope so, but if we don't have anything in common." Cupid nudged
him again.
"We have a lifetime in common, and an entire pantheon of relatives."
"But I want other stuff, I want...you." Erin scowled at his own sentence.
Cupid didn't care he was too busy grinning to himself, me, me, me, I love
this world.

"And I don't know if this is a 'thing' or just a thing. I mean when we
started it wasn't a 'thing' we were just, I dunno, fooling around or
something." More angry hair tugging, then Erin's voice went very quiet.

"It's not that anymore, at least I hope not. It's different and intense and
amazing and I don't want it to be practice or anything like that. I want it
to be a 'thing' and I feel completely stupid cos this is your stuff not
mine. I don't want you to think you have to do this or anything."
"Erin?"

"You're meeting all these new people and I don't know if they're better
people or if you have loads in common with them, or if you like any of
them. I don't even know if you'd tell me that stuff. I don't know if I'd
want to know that stuff!"
"Erin?!"

"I mean is that screwed up? I'm not Asclepius or Apollo or anything but you
know I'd do anything for you right, that has to count, that has to mean
something! I'd do anything for you but I'm going crazy cos I don't know what
you want."
"Erin!!" Erin stopped talking, lips a tight line, blinking slowly. Cupid
waited until he was absolutely sure he had Erin's attention.

"I love you." Erin inhaled sharply, held it. Cupid smiled at him, screw
taking that back, he might even say it again if Erin didn't say something
soon.
//Really?// Cupid smiled even harder at the whispered question.
"Yes." Erin shut his eyes and Cupid watched with a grin as his head dropped
slowly onto Cupid's shoulder.
//Oh Zeus thank you!// He definitely hadn't been meant to hear that, but he
did. Erin lifted his head and shook it.
"Really?!" Cupid nodded into that hopeful face, you betcha, uh huh, yep,
yes, definitely, tried to convey that all at once.

"You and me, that's the plan right?" Erin made a quiet noise considered
Cupid's face, which he figured was probably looking way too smug and maybe
just a little frantic because this would definitely change things,
definitely.
"You got everything all figured out haven't ya?" Erin said in almost annoyed
amazement. Cupid nodded violently.
"Oh yeah, you, me, pretty much forever." Erin raised an eyebrow, then smiled
and it was sort of shy and sort of bewildered. Cupid leant over and kissed
him sharply on half parted lips, then grinned until his face hurt.



Title: Growing Up 30: Debauchery
Author: Corona
Rating: R (Probably)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: Some shameless Bacchae hussies
Warning: mentions of sex, hints of bestiality, bad language..
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid's day starts off ok, gradually gets worse.
Note: I know sod all about Bacchae but I'm figuring vampires will pretty
much do for these purposes.



Cupid opened an eye into a shaft of sunlight, squinted, blinked and
stretched, then decided he didn't particularly want to get up yet, so he
threw the sheets back over his head instead.

---

"Cupid?" It was some kind of divine magic, he'd swear it, his Mom always
managed to catch him when he wasn't quite awake and fill his arms full of
stuff, before he knew it he'd be off doing everything she should be doing.

"Take this to Apollo, then tell him if I catch any of those skanky muses in
my storeroom again they'll be shovelling out Artemis stable." She tossed a
gold box into his hands.
"Oh and see if you can get Hermes to fly by and pick up the material Nyx
made for me, that wicked blue supernova fabric, Gods I would happily have
killed for that." His Mom tossed a couple of scrolls into his arms.

"Give him those while you're there. Oh and see if my bitch of a sister is
ready to give up the king of Thebes yet. My patience is not endless, lets
see if he can lead an army pregnant hmm?" Oh Dad would be so pleased about
that, please don't make me explain that to him, please!

"Drop by and tell Ares so he knows what's going on, dammit where did I
put...?" Cupid shot his eyes skyward and mouthed something corrosive at the
ceiling.
"Language Cupid!" Aphrodite stood triumphantly holding something which Cupid
would probably never fathom.
"Drop this off at Bacchus temple will you, Zeus knows it's about time I gave
it back. Tell him thank you though, oh and get some of his Special for me,
tell him I'll pay later." Cupid raised an eyebrow while his Mom tried to
fold the thing.

"I thought I wasn't allowed in Bacchus temple?" Aphrodite paused in her
folding, then waved a hand.
"You're eighteen, I don't think anything going on there could scare the
boots off of you. Get a Bacchae to show you through though, they can get
very strange when they wake up." Cupid didn't know whether to grin or be
scared. 'Yes Cupid honey, today you're old enough to walk into the temple of
debauchery and drop off this weird arse thing to your scariest Uncle, try
not to get molested by a bacchae and all that.'

"Ok," he said instead. His Mom grinned and drew him into an almost painful
hug before kissing him quickly.
"Oh God I'm so busy and you're all grown up!" Cupid blinked, 'I am? Since
when.'
"I hate it when things happen when I'm not looking." For a long second he
thought his mother might actually cry at him, but them she straightened and
shook her head, dropped the thing in his arms and let go.

Cupid arms creaked and he gasped, the thing started to slide down his chest.
"Mom heavy, Mom, heavy Mom!" Aphrodite made a noise and lifted it like it
was a damn scroll.
"Oops, well maybe not all grown up."

---

Cupid hated waiting, not that he was prejudiced or anything but he felt like
a mortal sitting here in a big golden chair with some weird extremely heavy
contraption balanced in his lap while Apollo did busy things.

It didn't help that Terpsichore and Polyhymnia were sitting across from him
bent over a very large scroll giggling. Occasionally they'd look up and grin
at him, then look at what he was holding and grin even harder. After ten
minutes of that Cupid had pulled a wing over whatever the hell his Mom had
given him that was amusing everybody so much!

Was he expected to spend all morning here or something?

"Cupid?" He squinted up and Apollo, who had appeared grinning from between
the doors.
"Come on in." Cupid stood, hiked the thing back up to his chest and followed
the disappearing head into the temple. Apollo just went through and perched
on the corner of his desk. Cupid set the hated thing down in a chair and
pulled the gold box out of his waistband. Apollo stood up when Cupid handed
it to him.

"My Mom sent this, and she said to tell you the Muses are sneaking into her
storeroom again." Apollo grunted, then grinned.
"I'll talk to them." Cupid shunted the thing back into his arms, it was
always polite to wait and see if Apollo wanted to send a message back.

Apollo opened the box and scowled at the contents, then rolled his eyes.
"How old are you now anyway?" For a minute Cupid thought he was talking to
the box, but Apollo glanced up. Cupid made a noise.
"Oh, eighteen." Apollo hmmed and shut the box.
"You doing ok?" Cupid smiled slightly.
"Uh huh."
"Ace seems to think you're pretty cool." Wow, Cupid didn't know Ace had
liked him enough to tell his dad, he smiled again.
"He's pretty cool too."

Apollo was looking at the folding thing with one eyebrow raised. Cupid
hugged it against his chest a bit harder.
"What?" Apollo grinned and sprawled on the desk a foot in front of him.
"Any particular reason why you're dragging this round Olympus?" Apollo
tapped one of the legs with a nail. Cupid looked down, then looked up.
Decided to be honest and get the laughing over with.

"I'm supposed to be taking it back to Bacchus, I don't have a clue what it
is." Apollo didn't laugh, but he did grin, then glance out of the window,
looked back.
"Not a clue?" Cupid looked at it, he didn't, he could hazard a few guesses,
all of which were pretty disturbing.
"No," Apollo grinned even harder.
"Want me to show you?" Cupid went very still, did he mean show as in 'point
out what it does in a purely educational fashion' or did he mean show as in
'nakedness will be involved.' He must have stayed quiet for a long time,
because Apollo had gotten closer when he wasn't looking.

"Or we could just play without it?" Oh my Gods! Which was when Cupid
promptly dropped the thing, it landed with a crash, tilted and unfolded
erratically. He swore and bent, tried to shove it back together again, which
his Mom had made look easy.

"I have to give this back," Cupid offered hurriedly dragging bits of the
thing together and wrapping the chain round what looked like another leg. "I
have to take it to Bacchus and then I have to see Athena and Ares and Hermes
sometime today." It pinged open and Cupid shoved it back again and tried to
pry one of the legs out enough to rewrap the chain. This was Apollo, oh my,
what was that thing about tigers and bears? That was a really cool carpet,
and Apollo's boots were really shiny.
"I have to go and do stuff and I'm involved, a lot, with someone, and please
Gods how does this damn thing go together!"

Cupid stopped when Apollo chuckled very softly. Then the long golden shape
sank to the floor and effortlessly collected the whole thing into a bundle
and clipped it shut.

"Calm down Cupid," Apollo said softly, laughed.
"I'm old enough not to be horribly scarred by rejection." Cupid made a
little noise, but took a quick nervous glance at Apollo's face, he was
smiling.
"Though it doesn't happen often." No Cupid would bet it didn't. He felt
compelled to be nice since it was Apollo and if Cupid looked like him he was
pretty sure he'd be hurt by rejection.

"I'm not...I mean if I wasn't, then I would because wow, but I am and
sorry." Cupid hauled the thing off the floor, with a little help from his
Uncle.
"I really would, but there's someone, sorry." Cupid stopped talking and shut
his eyes.
"I'm gonna go now before I look any stupider ok." Apollo laughed.
"Ok." Cupid exhaled, smiled nervously, 'yes just leave the damn temple
before you trip over, or drop this on his foot or something, and look
contrite damn it, this is Apollo, and don't tell dad!'

"Bye." Cupid grinned and leant back against the desk in such a way as to
amplify exactly what had been on offer. Cupid looked away very quickly cos
looking at that would be bad because he had Erin, and Erin did not stand
that like, probably wouldn't even if he did.
"Bye." He offered again since for the life of him he couldn't think of
anything else to say.
//Come back some time Hmm.// Cupid left, quickly.


---

This was embarrassing, maybe more than embarrassing. When you had to resort
to carrying something three feet, then stopping and leaning it against the
wall before you could work up the titan strength needed to pick the damn
thing up again. He should have flashed in closer to the temple, like right
outside the doors.

He'd already dropped the thing on his foot twice and so now his foot hurt,
quite a lot. Not enough to make him limp but limping would definitely be an
option later. He'd actually passed Hebe and Pan, neither of them had even
considered helping. They would have helped when he was younger, what grown
up people had to do everything on their own? Well that sucked.

This thing had already gotten him into more trouble than it was worth and
he'd seriously considered just tossing the thing out of the next window he
came across. He wasn't in a great mood when he finally got close enough to
kick the door with a foot, he was in an even worse mood when it took someone
five minutes to open it.

A very pale man who'd been to see Janus way too many times eventually
appeared in the doorway, he blinked sluggishly at Cupid, then squinted, oh
he was a Bacchae, Cupid didn't need him to open his mouth to work that out.
"You have wings?" Cupid scowled.
"Yes very astute, can I come in?" The pale man pulled the door wide,
smirked.
"Pretty things are always welcome." 'Oh blow me' but he didn't dare say that
out loud, not in Bacchus temple, the creepy guy would probably take it as an
offer, or a suggestion.
"Bacchus?" The pale man was still blinking at him lethargically, after a few
seconds of angry re-shifting the man shook his head and very slowly waved
Cupid through a doorway.

In retrospect it probably would have been better to just never get up this
morning. The doorway should have had flaming letters over the top or
something. Or at least a little note. Like 'Please leave all your morals
outside the door and collect them afterwards.'

He very nearly dropped the thing on his foot again and tried to find his
large red Uncle amongst all the other...stuff. Closing his eyes would
probably get him laughed at, running out screaming definitely would.

It was a room full of naked people and too much red to be just decoration,
most of them were pale and whip quick enough to be Bacchae but some of them
were...other things, maybe even dead things, really dead things, not pretend
like the Bacchae. Something bumped his thigh and very cautiously he looked
down.

A goat was chewing his pants, he stared at it for a few seconds, then looked
away. He didn't want to know what a goat was doing in here, he really
didn't. Several options presented themselves to him, he wasn't sure which he
liked most, probably the blood sacrifice, or maybe they played with it
first, it looked happy enough. He very carefully edged away from it.

Bumped into a very friendly young lady who growled at him and then twined
around him like a snake. Cupid didn't have any arms to get rid of her. A
lady with too much hair and not nearly enough clothes.
"I'm looking for Bacchus, look will you please not cling." Because the
Bacchae was stronger than he was. The lady actually pouted at him and let
go.

"Are you sure you don't want to play pretty, pretty?" Cupid nodded and tried
not to look at anything below the neck.
"Yes I'm certain, I'm just looking for Bacchus, I have to-" he gestured with
the thing he was holding. The female Bacchae tutted at him and took it one
handed, much to Cupid's embarrassment. She tossed it onto the altar. Well
actually she tossed it on top of two female Bacchae who were writhing on the
altar, but they didn't seen to mind.

"There now, no burdens, want to play with Leili?" Cupid shook his head.
"No I still have to find Bacchus." He tilted his head, caught sight of the
goat and quickly looked back at...Leili? He tried for pleading, but not
pleading in a 'tie me up and hurt me' kind of way. Leili grinned, and yes
that was a lovely display of teeth which wouldn't look out of place on a
tiger.

"Seriously, can you please tell me where Bacchus is?" Something was nudging
his thigh again and it was odds on that it wasn't the goat. Cupid shifted,
shook his leg, which only tempted a hand to wrap around his thigh and
squeeze tightly.
"Come play with us, we'll play softly at first." Something rubbed against
his hip like a cat and that would have been nice if it was anywhere other
than here.

"Look Leili, I'm serious-Ow!" Cupid stumbled forward, something had bitten
the back of his thigh, not quite hard enough to draw blood.
"Ow, cut it out." Cupid tried to shake Leili off of his arm. Another shape
pressed against his back, judging by the way the hips nudged his spine his
new friend was male.

Someone was running something damp, along the arch of his wing and he didn't
want to even imagine what that was. Cupid pulled out of the contact. The
shape behind him whined, then changed tactics and hissed loud enough to make
him jump. Leili backed off and giggled. The goat screamed, then a person
screamed, only no one alive should be able to make that sort of noise. Cupid
opened his wings and the two Bacchae backed off. Enough was enough.

He opened a hand, flexed it, the Bacchae backed off a little further. They
were smart enough to know what that gesture meant on a God. The next person
who went near him would get a fireball in the face. Leili giggled and
stretched out her fingers, the male Bacchae was clicking his teeth not far
away from Cupid's ear.

"You look scared pretty." Leili was pouting again, but at least the teeth
were covered.
"Smells scared too." The voice floating behind him added, Cupid shook his
head.
"Well I'm not, I'm just trying to find Bacchus." The floating voice laughed.
"Bacchus is sleeping."
"Sleeping," Leili sing songed. Oh great fabulous, it wasn't like he was
important enough to demand someone wake him up, screw this, he'd just walk
slowly out of the madhouse, he'd dropped off the thingy, Bacchus was asleep,
job mostly done, he should just leave and maybe he'd rescue the goat on the
way out.

Cupid backed up a step, straight into the floating voice, who promptly
growled throatily at him. Zeus did someone name this International Porn Day
and then forget to tell him or what? Cupid didn't have a clue what he would
have done next, because someone interrupted.

"Leave him alone both of you." Cupid tilted his head towards the doors, he
knew that voice, he knew that face. His Great Aunt did not look happy.

"The next person that even looks at him the wrong way will be hanging by
their genitalia over one of my cauldrons!" Hecate strode through the
Bacchae, tossing them this way and that, until she stood before Leili. The
female bacchae wasn't stupid enough to growl at Hecate. She cringed and
scurried away. Hecate growled at the remaining circle, then glared across
the room.

"Canus, get your dick out of my property, I want to see him chained eating
lettuce leaves outside my temple in five minutes...yes that's starting from
now, shift your arse!" Hecate swivelled to face Cupid, smiled regally. Oh
thank Zeus, whatever I did to piss you off this morning I'm sorry, and thank
you. Hecate could scare off bacchae, no problem, she'd even rescued the
goat, though ok not gonna think about the goat for a minute
because...yeurgh.

"Well, well, I do find you in some interesting places, don't I Cupid." Cupid
nodded. This didn't seem like the right atmosphere for pleasantries but they
were Gods, they could pretend. 'hello Aunt Hecate, fancy meeting you in this
temple of perversion, were even goats aren't safe.'
"Hello." Was about all he could manage. Hecate seemed to be in a good mood
though, this was her best face after all, the one with long purple hair and
shiny lips. Or as his father would say 'Maiden my arse!'

Hecate looped an arm through his.
"I take it you're looking for the big red?" Cupid nodded. Hecate made a
small noise, then barked sharply.
"Room!" The Bacchae immediately split down the middle, apart from a very
distracted couple of men who were investigating the word 'retractable' to
it's fullest extent. Hecate planted a boot on a rump and pressed down until
the guy on the bottom yelped. Even Cupid winced and drew away slightly.

Then she was off again, and Cupid could do nothing but follow her.
"I have better things to do than wade through perverted Bacchae!" She
snapped and Cupid wondered if she'd come to rescue him. Which seemed just
too pathetic for words.
"I could for instance have Hermes bent over three feet of solid oak, doing
things to him which would make your mother blush." Hecate winked at him, and
Cupid swallowed very hard. Then she rolled her eyes theatrically.
"Three bodies and not a cock between me, where's the justice in that!" She
stopped in front of a set of huge red double doors, simply pushed them open.

"Bacchus!"

Cupid winced at the loudness of her yell. Then had visions of Bacchus waking
up extremely pissed and Hecate blaming him for everything. This was her
Chaotic face after all, she was only predictable when she had her softer
Creative older face on, but that wouldn't happen for a week.

"Get up you lazy excuse for a God, I want words with you." Bacchus was
actually still in bed, and it was the biggest bed Cupid had ever seen,
Bacchus pretty much filled it, sprawled out like he was and snoring loud
enough to wake a whole city of Bacchae. He was alone though, Cupid had been
curious as to whether Phonos would be here to, apparently not.

One huge yellow eye opened and Hecate took the opportunity to yank the
entire length of blood red silk off of him. Cupid looked away since Bacchus
wasn't wearing anything and he'd just woken up and-looking somewhere else.

"How many times have I told you my property is my property! You will not
send your perverted little bloodsuckers to ransack my temple. Next time you
feel the need, get your own animals. My concoctions have to be perfect, do
you think Bacchae semen won't make a difference! Don't yawn when I'm talking
to you. You're lucky you're looking at me and not my Crone!"

Bacchus growled and shifted uncomfortably and even Cupid stepped back a
little just in case there was a possibilty of the old one popping up. She
wouldn't scream and yell and swear, she'd just curse you and make your life
horrible.

"I want each and every one of your little minions to take part in one of my
experiments, that may teach them that Hecate is not one to be crossed, even
in jest!"

Cupid sidled back a little out of Hecate's circle of yelling influence, and
sank into a red armchair, tried to look as if he wasn't there. He'd just
wait until Hecate had finished her rant first.


It turned out to be a really long wait.



Title: Growing Up 31: Legends
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
Warning: Discussions of non-con stuff.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid's bad day continues and Ares hammers home some nasty truths.


Cupid trudged up to the door of his father's temple and let his head fall
against the wood. He really, really hoped Dad was in a good mood. If this
day got any worse he may just throw himself out of the nearest window, and
not even bother to open his wings.

He hadn't even been able to get to Erin, Phonos had taken him on a thing
this afternoon, they were probably out practicing ways to horribly kill
people. So no one knew exactly what kind of day he'd been having, it would
be over before he saw him and Cupid didn't know if he'd believe him anyway.
Either Fortune was seriously pissed at him, which seemed unlikely because he
was always nice to her, or the entire universe had decided it would be funny
to torment him.

He'd finally gotten out of Bacchus temple, lugging a large jar of red
powder, only to get a lecture from Hecate about being careful where you went
unless you had the balls to sort situations like that out. Then she'd walked
him all the way to Hermes temple. Cue excruciating embarrassment while
Hermes tried to decide which one of them to concentrate on, then he was
pretty much abandoned in the entryway. Which was a good thing since no one
saw him walk into the door.

Athena had given him a very long lecture about how much she hated his Mom,
then she'd made him sit on a cushion like he was five and made him drink
horrible tea. He'd had to trudge back to his Mom's temple with a scroll and
a message that he wasn't going to read out like she suggested. He felt bad
enough about giving it to Mom anyway.

Mom hadn't been happy either, she'd forgotten to make lunch and he wasn't in
the mood to eat by himself. He resigned himself to being hungry and
miserable for whatever his father had planned, shoved the doors open and
stepped inside.

Ares was perched on the corner of his desk and he watched him come in. This
couldn't be good, oh this couldn't be good at all. He walked in a little way
and stopped in front of his fathers desk.

Ares looked straight at him.
"Hecate dropped in to see me." Cupid found an interesting spot on the carpet
to look at.
"I think she actually invented some new swearwords in relation to you."
Cupid shoulders hunched and flexed, the need to defend himself was being
slowly quashed by his fathers quiet anger.
"The term she used was harassed, I hope that's more accurate than some other
unpleasant words I could evoke." Cupid nodded minutely.

Ares rose, shoved his chair back.
"Am I going to have to talk to Aphrodite about this?" Cupid shook his head.
Ares weaved round to the front of the desk and stood looming over him.
"And Erin wasn't with you why, he would know how to deal with a room full of
bacchae." Cupid flinched at the reminder of his own ineptitude.
"Or at the very least know how to kill one, I'm assuming you don't know how
to kill a bacchae?" Cupid shook his head, frowned at the carpet.
"Erin was out with Phonos." He offered quietly.

"So you decided to go alone, with no escorts?" Cupid's eyes slid briefly to
his fathers face, then back to the carpet. He didn't need escorts, he was
practically a full God, almost a full God.

His father muttered something which sounded like 'For the love of Zeus.'
Which didn't seem fair considering he'd been the one semi-molested by
Bacchae.

Ares lowered a hand and unclasped Cupid's bow.
"What's this?" Cupid blinked at it.
"It's a bow." Ares glared down at him.
"Essentially?" Cupid's brain tried to sluggishly work.
"Wood, bits of metal, an arrow-"
"It's a weapon Cupid!" Ares snapped. Cupid flinched backwards.
"Ok."

"Do you know what weapons are useful for?" Cupid raised an eyebrow, reached
out a hand and took his bow back, Ares let him.
"Killing people." He offered, but he didn't particularly want his bow
associated with killing people, ever.
"Essentially yes, but in your case a million things in-between," Ares
pointed vehemently at the bow.
"This is not necessarily an instrument of Love, it is also an instrument of
spite and chaos!" Cupid hugged his bow protectively.

"No it's not!" Ares rolled his eyes. Then in a movement which was as cruel
as it was sudden Ares pinned both Cupid's hands behind his back and snatched
the bow out of his belt, swivelled it and held the point a hairs breadth
away from Cupid's throat. Cupid sucked a breath and stared, completely
unable to believe his father had just done that.

"What arrow's in here Cupid?" Cupid swallowed sighted along the bow.
"Lust." Ares mouth quirked briefly, then settled.
"And what would happen if I was to pull the trigger right now." Cupid shook
his head, lips curling in a combination of disgust and denial. He was
looking at his father, he knew exactly what would happen.

"What would happen Cupid if I fired this into you right now." Cupid wrenched
at his fathers arms but had no choice but to remain there. Several
unpleasant images were spiralling through his head and he wanted to move
away now, please, dad for the love of Zeus let go.
"Let go!" Ares took one look at his son's panicked, miserable face and
released him, abruptly. Cupid stumbled, then righted himself, scowled at
Ares, who flipped the bow and tossed it back.
"Still think it's not an instrument of spite and chaos?"

"That was a shitty thing to do!" Cupid snapped, rubbed at his wrists. Ares
ignored Cupid's patented sympathy move.
"If you weren't going through a stage of utter stupidity and disregard for
your own welfare I might even feel guilty for it." Which was practically
hissed at him.

Ares backed off and returned to his seat. Cupid realised his lesson was
over, blunt and to the point as always and more horrible than most. Under a
sliver of slighted anger Cupid voiced the question Erin had warned him not
to ask.

"What happened to Janus?" Cupid watched his father stiffen, watched him drop
the scroll he'd picked up and collect himself into a sit so tense that he
was almost vibrating.
"Why?" the word, set alone into the silence was more than enough to make
Cupid want to drop the conversation entirely. He blinked, collected his
hands together at his waist.
"I saw his face once, he showed me, it has something to do with the snake on
his back as well, what happened to him." Ares stood up again, chair scraping
back along the floor.

"You can't change anything Cupid, things like that, you can only bury them."
Cupid shook his head, that wasn't an answer or an explanation, that was a
diversion. What could possibly be horrible enough that his father wouldn't
tell him.
"Why don't you want me to know?" Ares simply looked at him like the
conversation was already over.
"What is it?" Because he was sick of people switching between treating him
like a child and treating him like he was five centuries old and they
couldn't care less. He was either one or the other dammit.

"You're not old enough to hear this story Cupid, hang on to the ideas you
have a little longer." Cupid glared at his father.
"I'm eighteen."
"You're a child."
"No I'm not!" He'd get the story from someone, if his father wouldn't tell
him then someone else would dammit. Ares picked that up from his face easily
enough.

"You're not going to drop this are you, even Erin knows when it's best to
drop something." Cupid folded his arms.
"Erin hangs around with him, I've met him, he's nice enough if a tiny bit
creepy." Ares narrowed his eyes, seemingly under the impression that was the
understatement of the year. Cupid lowered his hands clenched them.

"Everybody's walks around him like he might explode or shatter in a thousand
sharp pieces or something. We're supposed to stay away from him but nobody
will tell us why! Why shouldn't we want to know! I'm sick of putting my foot
in my mouth and I'm sick of being ignorant and people not telling me things.
Just because I'm Love doesn't mean I'm stupid or naive, or five for Zeus
sake!" He stopped for a breath, risked a glance at his fathers icy face.

"Are you quite finished?" Ares offered flatly and Cupid was aware he may
have pushed a little hard. When Ares didn't get an answer he waved a hand.
"Sit down." Cupid waited a beat and then sat. Ares leant back in his chair,
until it groaned.
"You want to hear it, ergo you will sit there and listen to it until I'm
through, got it." Cupid's enthusiasm and righteous indignation wavered
slightly at his fathers long stare. Then swallowing nerves he nodded. Ares
settled his arms on the desk and sighed.

"You're not the only one, that someone took a shine to when he was younger."
Ares said very carefully. Cupid blinked, someone had tried that with Janus?
Who would be stupid enough to try that with Janus, he'd skin them alive.
They'd have to be powerful, more than powerful. He wanted to know more, if
he had to sit here until his father gave it to him.

"Who?"
"Who do you think?" Ares face was flat, Cupid considered it, there was only
one option really.
"Zeus?" It was a horrible thing to learn about your grandfather, even though
it didn't surprise him, you never really wanted to know something like that.
His father was nodding, he didn't stop there.

"No one stopped him, nobody ever fought Zeus and won." Cupid pulled a face.
"I bet no one even tried," Ares gave him a look which indicated he still had
a lot to learn.
"No listening to the screaming was quite enough for us." Cupid gave his
father a look of utter disgust and stood up violently.
"Sit down!" Ares commanded and Cupid was so shocked he sat without question.

"You're the one that wanted this story, well now you're hearing it." Cupid
stared, finally he relaxed back into the couch but he didn't look happy.
Ares voice lowered slightly.

"I can't make people love each other, you can, Your Mother can't ignite
rage, Discord can, Zeus cannot make the sun rise, Apollo can." Cupid
blinked.
"So we can all do something that no other God can do?" Ares nodded slowly.
"Olympians yes, it's what keeps us together as a pantheon, do you
understand." Cupid nodded.

"You know what Janus rules don't you?" Cupid nodded again.
"Gateways, decisions." Ares shook his head.
"More than that, everywhere that there is a here and an elsewhere Janus can
go." Ares stopped.
"What's the most terrible place on earth?" Cupid didn't hesitate.
"Tartarus." Ares nodded,
"Right, now what's the most terrible place you could ever imagine?" Cupid
frowned.

"I dunno, it would be pretty bad I guess." Ares raised an eyebrow. Cupid
shrugged conceded.
"What about me?" Cupid looked at his father.
"You could probably imagine a pretty horrible place." Ares smiled.
"Indeed I could, right, now imagine I could take you there." Cupid flinched,
mouth drawing into a tight line.
"That wouldn't be fun." Cupid swallowed, considered it with growing horror.
"Is that what Janus did, he took Zeus somewhere like that?" Ares shook his
head.
"Janus is a lot older than me, he took him somewhere much worse that that."
Cupid cringed against his will, fingers digging into the arm of the sofa.

"Zeus of course tried to get back, how do you imagine he did that?" Cupid
stayed very still, then slowly opened his mouth.
"He tried to tear Janus in half." Ares nodded
"Tried to tear Janus in half, starting with that lovely face."

"Janus Godhood did the only thing it knew how, it tried to repair that half,
but unfortunately that terrible place didn't have quite the same idea about
what a face should look like." Ares stopped and Cupid swallowed hard and
sank lower into the couch, he'd seen that face, he couldn't imagine anywhere
that would make faces like that.

"But Janus won, because Zeus hasn't been near him in three thousand years,
he won't look at him, because he knows where that face comes from. In fact
Janus may be the reason that Zeus has ruled more or less without throwing
his weight around too much for a very long time." Cupid stared at the floor.

"That's why we stay away from Janus, he's the first person who ever won, and
we all know damn well what it cost him." Cupid shifted in his chair, stared
at the ground, shifted again, then very slowly stood up.

"Sit down!" Ares snapped.
"You'll stay until I'm finished." Cupid shook his head slowly.
"That's-"
"You wanted to hear it all didn't you?" Cupid shook his head again, he
didn't want to hear anymore, wanted to go home, wanted to get out of here.

"Oh there's more, there's plenty more, you think someone can go through that
and not be a little unbalanced for a while. You think we stay away from
Janus just because he frightened Zeus, you think that's all it took?"
Ares stopped talking and looked at him.

Cupid wondered if he would be allowed to leave, allowed to go home and play
with his toy soldiers and pretend today had never happened. Ares sighed and
leant back and Cupid knew he'd been let off, Ares wouldn't tell him any
more. His father had one last point to make though.

"The foundations of Olympus aren't pretty Cupid, leave them be."

---

Cupid moved his books to one side of his dresser, then moved them back, then
stacked his bottles on top of them. So was this it, adulthood, was this
where life split off from fun and games and became serious? Was it always
like this, you didn't notice it and then suddenly you were there? That
didn't make sense, if these things made you an adult then Erin should have
been one since he was about five. Where did adulthood start? It had to be
different for everyone, so what made you an adult, what happened that meant
you could never go back to that before stage.

Was it after you'd tried everything, was that it, you'd tried everything
once so you always knew what to expect, or was it the lack of surprise,
where nothing made you go 'wow' look at that. Or maybe it was just when
everyone stopped lying, when they thought you were old enough to handle
things. Did mortals have this problem too?

He stared into his mirror, would anything ever be the same anymore?

His bedroom door opened and Erin sidled in, Cupid watched him turn around
and peer out of the door again. Then shut it and give Cupid a strange look.
"Is your Mom baking?" Cupid nodded, pushed away from the mirror.
"She's trying to make cakes, she's got a bet going with Hestia, she burnt a
lot of stuff, you know Mom's not good with time." Erin raised an eyebrow.
"There's something fundamentally wrong with your Mom in an apron." Cupid
laughed and shook his head. Erin flopped down next to him on the floor,
wrapped an arm around his waist and kissed him on the cheek.

"Though you left your dad in an evil mood! What the Tartarus did you say to
him, he's stomping around like a Titan." Cupid shook his head.
"I'll tell you about it tomorrow, I don't want to think about it anymore
tonight." Erin looked so concerned, Cupid flopped his head over onto his
shoulder, Erin laid a hand on the back of his neck and squeezed gently.
"A lot of things I didn't really want to hear, not yet at least, of course I
didn't know that until afterwards." The hand stroked gently up into his
hair.

"Zeus Erin I've had a really fucked up day and I can't for the life of me
work out how it happened. This morning started off pretty well, you'd think
there would have been a sign or something, some dread portent." Erin laughed
and made Cupid's head jiggle.

"What like a flaming sword hanging over your bed?" Cupid couldn't help but
smile.
"Something like that." Erin's hand slid back down to rest against Cupid's
bare back.

"Gonna tell me about it?" Cupid groaned and rolled his head around on his
shoulders.
"And I still don't know what that bloody thing was." Erin frowned across at
him.
"What thing?" Cupid rolled his eyes and made a childish annoyed noise.
"Oh it doesn't matter you probably have four of them or something."
"Four of what?"

Ok it was sort of funny that Erin didn't have a clue what he was talking
about. Funny and reassuring, he slid his head to the side and let it drop
into Erin's neck, simply because his hair smelt nice.
He stayed silent for a while, feeling the fingers tensing and relaxing on
the skin.

Was it so bad for things to change?

"Erin?" He offered quietly
"Hmm," and he felt the noise where Erin was pressed to his cheek.
"Stay with me tonight."



Title: Growing Up 32: Resolution
Author: Corona
Rating: NC-17
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
Warning: The boys in bed, nothing frightening.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Half a second after Growing Up part 31 and it's consequences, Cupid
starts making decisions for himself.
Important Note: Right time to roll up the sleeves, the boys are eighteen
now, both of them, most definitely because I've been counting carefully, if
you're still thinking of them as cute little kids I suggest you stop or this
part will be very creepy indeed!


Erin's hand stilled on his back, his head tilted until he could look Cupid
in the face.
"What brought this on?" Cupid stared at him.
"I had an epiphany." Erin raised an eyebrow.
"An epiphany? Was this brought on by your bad day?" Cupid glared at him
briefly.
"I'm serious, we're not kids anymore, and I want you to stay with me." Erin
didn't say anything, just slid his hands slowly up and down Cupid's upper
arms, then made a clicking noise with his teeth.

Cupid sighed,
"Ok maybe it was brought on by today. So much stuff happened that I didn't
have any control over, and I found out things I didn't want to know and then
Dad went at me royally. I'll even admit I might have deserved some of it,
but that doesn't mean it felt fair. Then you were off doing that thing with
Phonos, whatever that was about, and I would have pretty much gone mad if
you hadn't come round, I just needed someone." Erin was watching him and
wearing his serious face, Cupid cocked his head slightly.
"Mostly you."

"Cupe-" Cupid interrupted him.
"And I know I want you here with me now." Erin folded his arms, then
unfolded them and shifted on the floor.
"To sleep?" Cupid shrugged.
"That as well." Erin pulled a hand through his hair.
"Tartarus Cupid!" Which provoked a chuckle, he wasn't alone in this, Erin
could protest as much as he liked but he wouldn't say no. Cupid wanted to
smile but nerves were a bitch that way and he was half afraid it would turn
into something feral.
"You want to, right?" Erin swivelled his head in Cupid's direction.
"Gods Cupid of course I want to." Cupid nodded, managed a smile.

"So we undress I suppose, that's what you do when you go to bed right?"
Cupid offered, eyes flickering across to his own bed, which had never had
anyone in it but him.
"Now?" Cupid very rarely heard Erin panic, but it sounded a lot like that.
Cupid stood, shoved one foot behind the other and pushed his boot off. Erin
watched him like he'd just gone mad. Cupid pointedly did the other boot,
then stood barefoot in front of him. It was gone eleven, Erin normally
flashed back to his own room at this time anyway.

Erin stood up a little awkwardly, shoved one of his own boots off, then
looked at Cupid like he might have changed his mind in the last five
seconds. Cupid said nothing, looked pointedly at the other boot, which with
a little shake of his head Erin pushed off as well, stood there. Cupid
shrugged,
"I don't wear a shirt." Erin blinked at him, very nervously started unlacing
his shirt, then paused.

"Stop staring, you've seen me naked before." Cupid was blinking, but he
shook his head very slowly.
"Not like this." Erin twisted his fingers in the laces of his shirt, played
with them, went red in a moment of nervousness. Cupid didn't look away and
Erin finally lifted his hands, gripped the collar of his shirt and tugged it
over his head. Let it drop and crossed his arms.

Cupid stepped forward and very gently took hold of Erin's wrists, pulled his
arms down. Erin didn't seem completely happy about it but he let him, almost
shyly, then swallowed when Cupid pressed close and wrapped an arm around his
waist.

"Are you coming to bed with me or not?" Erin growled.
"Zeus Cupid don't say things like that." Cupid grinned and tried to pretend
he wasn't trembling as well.
"Why?"
"Because I just might take you up on it." Cupid dropped his hands and pulled
one of the ties lacing Erin's pants up. Erin's eyes widened and his hands
twitched but didn't move from his sides.
"Cupe?" Cupid pulled it until the knot unravelled, Erin's waistband went
slack enough for Cupid to slide his fingers in if he wanted to, if he wanted
to. He backed off, was stopped by fingers twisting into his own laces, he
looked down and watched unsteady hands pull the laces aside.

Erin stopped short of venturing inside as well but he did shove them just a
little until they rode so low on his hips that if he took a step he'd lose
them. He did just that, then stepped out of them and moved enough to sit
down on his bed. Erin watched him all the way, watched him shift back and
lean against the headboard, and wait.

Erin took a deep breath, lowered his hands and lost the pants, Cupid drew
his legs up and held a hand out. He saw Erin tug a hand through his hair
again, then step forward and drop next to him. Cupid wiggled down, smiled at
him then laid a hand on Erin's tense shoulder, pulled him down next to him.

Cupid faced him, eyes wide, until Erin sighed and shifted over, wrapped a
hand round the back of his neck and leant in. Cupid tilted his head up, let
Erin kiss him, his hands drifted across the gap between them until they
encountered cool skin, smooth as his own. It flexed under his fingertips and
Erin sighed softly into his mouth. Cupid let his palms lie flat.

Erin breathed into the contact and Cupid put the slightest pressure into his
hands. Erin breathed again and Cupid could feel the skin tighten beneath his
hands, he slid them outwards, clutched either side of Erin's ribcage and
pulled him closer.

Erin levered his mouth away but left his hand in Cupid's hair, fingers
tangling through it.
"Do you even know how beautiful you are?" Cupid made a very small noise and
dropped his head back, hands clutching Erin's sides.
"Erin," breath against his throat, then lips. If Erin was going to say
things like that then they were definately staying here.

Erin's mouth opened at his throat and Cupid tilted his head back farther.
Jewellery scraped his ear in a warm sharp line and he pressed his head into
it. Being this close was new enough for his fingers to tighten around Erin.

Erin's mouth drifted across his shoulder then dropped lower, teeth trailing
his collarbone in a way that made Cupid want to flinch yet arch up into it.
"Erin," Erin chuckled into his chest and bit down slightly until Cupid's
breath hissed out. Erin did it again and Cupid decided he definitely liked
that.

Then Erin dropped lower, lips brushing softly against a nipple.
"Ah," was all Cupid could provide. His teeth came together with a gentle
clack when Erin's mouth opened round it. Blue eyes rolled upwards to look at
him and Cupid couldn't do anything but shake and groan very quietly. Erin
released him enough to grin, then dropped his head again, licked a long line
up his chest.

'Oh Zeus let me do that to you and see how you like it.' Cupid lowered a
hand, pulled Erin up by the back of his neck, then dropped his head and bit
gently at Erin's shoulder, Erin purred like a cat so Cupid went lower drew
his mouth along Erin's breastbone, waiting for the inhale. When he got it,
he opened his mouth around Erin's nipple and, hoping he knew his friend as
well as he should, bit down.

Erin swore through his teeth, dragged a hand through Cupid's hair and held
him still. Cupid shut his eyes and let his tongue flick out and flatten
there, dug his teeth in again, Erin made a high whiny noise. It would be
very easy to get carried away, very easy, his brain didn't want to think. It
just wanted Erin to make that sound again, and again. But Erin was already
pulling him up with a hand that was more desperate than co-ordinated.

Erin's weight shifted closer, Cupid drew a breath and held it as one long
leg slid across one of his and pinned it down. Cupid swallowed, looked up.
Erin kissed the tip of his nose and Cupid grinned at him, couldn't help the
chuckle. Erin raised an eyebrow.
"What?" Cupid took a deep breath.
"Nervous." He chuckled again, mostly at himself. Erin smirked at him,
"Me too, but you're ok with this right?" A hint of something that Cupid was
going to ignore.

His hands dropped to Erin's waist and squeezed.
"I'm more than ok with this." Erin exhaled in a shaky little laugh, then
dipped forward, ran his tongue across Cupid's lower lip then bit down
gently. Cupid groaned and leant in, nudged Erin's head to one side and
pressed a kiss against Erin's throat. Erin swallowed, head tilting
backwards. Cupid breathed in, then slid upwards until he could tug on the
metal spiked through Erin's ear.

Erin clutched the arch of his wing, pulled him closer. Cupid grunted and
flinched against him. Erin dropped his hand, pulled away.
"Sorry, did that hurt?" Cupid shuddered very softly, then frantically shook
his head, tightened his fingers on Erin's waist. Erin's eyes drifted across
his face in surprise, then he grinned, slid his hand back up Cupid's wing.
Cupid inhaled when Erin's hand gripped the arch again and very gently pulled
it down. Cupid had to open his mouth to breathe, wasn't surprised when Erin
swayed forward and covered it with his own, tangling them both in a kiss
which was their first that had a hint of desperation about it.

Erin's hand slid down the bone and buried itself in the larger feathers. Oh
Zeus, Cupid fought not to inhale as every single nerve in his body
tightened. He dropped his hands to Erin's chest, gave a short whine of
something close to panic and pushed him backwards. Erin half rolled away,
hand resting on Cupid's shoulder, Cupid couldn't do anything but look at him
through half open eyes, taking breaths which trembled audibly.
"Cupe?" Though Erin was wearing a half smile. Cupid whined softly and tugged
him back, wrapping his arms around him without hesitation. Erin chuckled and
kissed him again, but kept his hands away from Cupid's wings. His knee
shifted a little higher and Cupid groaned and opened his thighs around it.

They were kissing again, but it wasn't the same, it was deeper, harder and
Erin's fingers were clenched more tightly at his back. Erin's knee shifted
up again, pressed against his erection, Cupid groaned and clenched his
thighs around it. Too relieved to be embarrassed, he wasn't the only one in
that state, Erin had proved that the last time he'd crushed Cupid against
him.

Erin's hands released his back, dropped to Cupid's waist and settled at the
waistband of his shorts. Cupid didn't let Erin pull away, but he did use a
foot to push Erin's leg from between his and arch his hips forward. Erin
eyelashes fluttered against his cheek and Cupid pulled back, opened his
eyes.

Erin's eyes were dark, focused entirely on his own, wide, aroused and just a
little uncertain. Cupid made a soft noise, fingers dove into the fabric,
started to slide it down Cupid's hips. It never really registered until then
exactly what they were doing.

Cupid was clenched too tightly to shake, fingertips digging into Erin's
back. He lifted a knee when Erin prodded him, felt material slide down his
legs and away. Erin's hand stayed on his thigh, then shifted higher,
clutched the naked skin of a hipbone. Cupid edged his own hands into the
back of Erin's shorts, pushed gently. Erin dragged a breath when Cupid's
hands slid across his rump. Then Cupid's hands peeled away from skin, tugged
the shorts to Erin's knees. Erin kicked them the rest of the way, then flung
an arm out, pulled Cupid against him.

They touched, then inhaled sharply against each other. Cupid shuddered when
Erin tangled their legs together, melding them close enough that Erin's cock
pressed insistently into the hollow of his hip. Cupid's stomach muscles
contracted sharply.

Erin tugged his head up, and their lips came together hard. Erin breathing
shakily through his noise while Cupid gave up breathing altogether. He
didn't resist the urge to thrust against him, was rewarded with a desperate
noise and a hand wrapped pinch tight at his waist. All of a sudden it was
very adult and almost painful and Cupid couldn't get any closer even though
he wanted to.

Cupid wanted...he didn't know how to ask, didn't know if he could or if Erin
even wanted to. He wound an arm around Erin's waist and pulled. Erin gave a
soft surprised little groan. Cupid spread his wings awkwardly, shifted over
onto his back. Erin ended up sprawled half over his hip but not for long,
not when Cupid's arms were pulling him back and winding a leg round Erin's
and tugging.

Erin didn't need any more encouragement to lean up on his hands and then
resettle his weight on top of Cupid. Who groaned low in his throat, Erin
wasn't heavy, but he was solid and warm and so slender. Cupid wanted to
touch him everywhere, wanted Erin to push down onto him hard. Wanted to be
closer, wanted to wrap himself around Erin.

Cupid shifted and let his legs wrap around Erin's thighs, pressed up until
Erin swore and tightened his grip on Cupid's waist. Cupid wanted his intent
perfectly clear, he didn't want say it, he didn't want to have to say it, he
wanted Erin to know. He shifted his hips until Erin's cock slid low enough
to press where buttocks met thigh. Erin froze, held Cupid still, his eyes
flew over Cupid's face.

"Cupe, we don't have to do this, not today." Cupid shook his head and clawed
at Erin's shoulders.
"I want to, I want to do this with you." He finished the sentence with a
shudder. Erin's jaw clenched and released very quickly, he groaned softly
and dropped his head.
//You do want to, don't you?// Cupid added very quietly, suddenly not
entirely sure of what they were about to do.
//I mean if you don't that's ok-// Erin laid a hand on his waist, squeezed
quickly.
//Gods how can you even ask.//
//I love you, I want to do this with you.// He offered again desperately.
Erin bent and very gently kissed him, pulled back far enough to speak
against his mouth.

"Then let me do it," he said very softly. As much as that suggestion
threatened what little control he had left, Cupid shook his head. He was
going to hang onto his nerves dammit, because even the thought of it was
enough to make his fingers stray across Erin's back and cling tightly.

"Cupid I'm serious, if it hurts I can-" Cupid pushed against him again and
whatever Erin was going to say was clenched between his teeth. Cupid simply
looked up at him. Erin pressed another kiss against the side of his mouth.
//I will if you want me to, you know that right?// Cupid pulled away from
the kiss and whimpered, 'for the love of Zeus Erin stop offering to let me
inside you.' He managed to shake his head one last time.

"Besides, we don't have any-" Cupid flung an arm out, grabbed for something
off of the table, a small blue bottle, which he wrapped his fingers around.
//I'm allowed to steal from Mom// he offered shakily. He didn't think he
could speak if he wanted to right now. Not with Erin looking down at him,
wide eyed and torn, and certainly not with the heat of him thudding against
Cupid's inner thigh.

When Erin raised a hand and took the bottle from him Cupid had to draw a
breath and bend upwards for one more kiss, Erin caught him before he could
lay down again.
"Are you sure about this?" Cupid arched his hips wordlessly and Erin grasped
one leg and held him still. His other hand flipped the bottle's top. Erin's
hand tightened on Cupid's thigh and he dropped his head back into the
pillows. He heard a clink of glass and Erin swore quietly, then his bent leg
was pushed very gently to the side.

Cupid managed not to shiver when a slick hand moved down his thigh, even
managed it when the hand seemed to spend a moment debating whether they
would leave or go on. He didn't manage not to tense when long slender
fingers pushed into him. He swallowed, but after the initial uncertainty he
found he was fighting an urge to push back onto them. Then there was a
pause, emptiness and there was more there than there had been before. This
time he did push back and Erin groaned and froze for a second, before
pulling away. Cupid made a tiny bereft noise and there was another clink of
glass, then a noise which suggested Erin had thrown the empty jar up the
bed. Then long hands made room between Cupid's thighs for him.

"Cupid are you sure you want me to do this?" Cupid ran a hand through Erin's
hair. Of all the people in the world he trusted not to hurt him, he was
looking at number one.
"Yes." Erin looked at the same time relieved and uncertain, but that was so
totally Erin. He shuffled forward on his knees, pulled Cupid's thigh back up
to his waist, Cupid found himself laying perfectly still, calf muscles
flexing against Erin. Who shifted just the tiniest bit, rearranged his grip
on Cupid's thigh and pushed into him.

"Ah," Cupid offered, more in surprise of the size than anything else. Erin
froze and Cupid locked eyes with him, one slash of black hair had fallen
into his left eye and he was biting his bottom lip.
//Cupid?// Cupid stretched a hand out, held Erin's hips still.
//I'm ok, hang on, hang on a minute.// It didn't hurt exactly but it felt
different and new and certainly strange. He slid his feet higher and Erin
slid a fraction deeper. Cupid couldn't hold back the little hiss, because ok
that did hurt just a tiny bit. He saw Erin's eyes widen then, saw him try to
shift backwards, he clamped his legs round Erin's waist and growled at him.

"Don't you dare." He breathed very slowly and Erin's hips were shaking
slightly and this was too much of a limbo to stay in forever. Cupid lowered
his hands and gripped Erin's waist, pulled very gently. Erin grunted as the
movement joined then closer and the place where he was gripping Cupid's
thigh went white. Cupid took a shaky breath and squeezed Erin's waist. His
head was urging him to pull Erin all the way down and just let him do it.
His body was begging just a few seconds longer.
//Oh Zeus, please Cupid I have to, Oh Zeus one way or the other.// Which
pretty much decided it. Cupid looped his lower leg round Erin's thigh and
pulled again.
//Oh fuck.// This time it was him but Erin stopped moving and lay against
him, eyes shut, breathing like he'd been running.

Erin held himself very still, then dropped his forehead against Cupid's.
"Tartarus," Erin whispered. Cupid shut his own eyes and shifted minutely,
Erin jumped and exhaled sharply against Cupid's jaw.
//Cupid, keep still for just a second please.// Cupid didn't know if he
could but there was such a thin line of desperation in Erin's mental voice
that he groaned and tried his best.

He was shaking again, which sent entirely new sensations along his back and
he really wanted to move, please Erin, just move, now.
//Erin, move please.// Cupid groaned when he did, just a fraction, and when
that wasn't enough just a little more. Cupid's legs went rigid around Erin
and he arched up far enough that Erin could pull a kiss out of him and once
together neither of them wanted to separate until Cupid had to wind a hand
around the back of Erin's neck and arch up higher against him, desperate and
so close and needing so badly. Erin's hands lifted and grasped Cupid's
shoulders hard enough to hurt and his hips thrust, Cupid's head tilted back,
hands lowering to grip Erin's waist.

Cupid struggled for a breath and couldn't find one, Erin thrust into him
again, bottom lip clamped between his teeth, hands so tight on Cupid's
shoulders that bone was creaking.
"Erin," he could barely form the word, and now would be a good time to touch
his wings because they were itching like madness and all Cupid could do was
push back into the bed while trying to keep his legs clamped at Erin's
waist.

Erin made a short desperate noise but his hands slid from Cupid's shoulders
and hit feathers, long fingers sliding and tangling amongst them.
The sensation was enough to arch him until his shoulders dug sharply into
the bed. Erin swore breathlessly, dropped against him, and Cupid could
actually feel that. He didn't know you could feel that from the outside. His
thighs dug hard into Erin's waist, which provoked just the slightest jerk
and a spike of something that surprised him into a a groan. Cupid's body
clenched hard, then he unravelled completely on one desperate breath.

---

Cupid didn't have many senses to come back to, but he knew that Erin had
moved off of him and that he was stroking his hair, and that was exactly
what he saw when he opened his eyes, not just that but Erin looking at him
as if he was...important, and there was a tug of something that hadn't been
there before.
"Hi," he offered, for want of anything better to say.

Erin leant down and kissed him, it wasn't fierce, it was the other kind, the
slow languid kiss that made Cupid want to phase through the bed. The kiss
that said 'wow, thank you and I love you' all at the same time. Cupid could
have tried to make it last forever. Erin pulled away first and settled his
face in Cupid's neck. Cupid listened to his breathing even out, let his own
match it.

Cupid made a sleepy noise and rolled enough to wrap an arm around Erin's
waist.
"Stay." Which wasn't even close to being a question. Erin made a noise which
suggested he had never intended to do anything else.


Title: Growing Up 33: Curiouser
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Morning stuff, new stuff, other stuff.


It should have been earth shattering, to wake up with someone's arm round
your waist, breathing softly into the back of your neck. It wasn't though,
it was completely perfect and not disturbing in the least. Only Erin could
find a way to insinuate himself between Cupid's wings so completely. Cupid
was almost afraid to move in case something horrible happened, spent the
next few seconds cataloguing every single place where he could feel Erin
against him. In the end the urge to look over his shoulder became too much
and he twisted enough that he could see.

Erin was between his wings, though not in such a way as to hurt, or to leave
them open so they'd cramp up and feel like they weighed three hundred pounds
all day. Erin was still asleep, strange since he was the morning person, but
Cupid didn't mind, since Erin had such long eyelashes and most of his
earrings had slid up onto his cheekbone. Long spikes of black hair were
sprayed all over Cupid's pillows, that seemed important for some reason, led
him to wonder if Erin would like to see Cupid's hair all over his bed.

He twisted his head a little farther until his wings slid downwards and Erin
grumbled into the empty space. He shifted, then stopped because his arms
weren't entirely happy about holding him up.

Cupid carefully sat up, winced, ok maybe not just his arms. He peered down
at his shoulder, then raised his eyebrow and touched the skin carefully, Ow.
He tilted his head enough to confirm that there were matching bruises on the
other side. It was sort of nice to be bruised, nice that last night had left
something on him, he took a moment to wonder whether that was twisted. Then
something else occurred to him, since he didn't wear a shirt he now had a
small problem.

Erin mumbled and snorted into the pillow, which was the only reason Cupid
was looking at him when his eyes opened. Erin blinked, stared at his own arm
for a second, then tilted his head. Blue eyes fixed on Cupid's face, then
opened just a little wider.

There was a fraction of a second where every creeping fear Cupid had tried
to crawl up his throat, until Erin lifted a hand and grabbed his wrist,
pulled him down and kissed him very softly, then let him go. Cupid let his
forehead fall against Erin's.
//I love you.// Erin made a very soft noise.
//I...love you too.// Cupid sat back so he could see Erin's eyes, not that
he needed them, he didn't need anything but that warm caress inside his
head.

Erin leant up enough to grab Cupid's head and kiss him again, they swayed,
bumped into each other and settled. They were still naked and it was still
new enough that they should probably stop it, just in case Aphrodite decided
he was sleeping late and came to check. That was definitely enough for him
to pull backwards. Erin didn't seem to mind though, his hands slid down
Cupid's neck and over his shoulders, Cupid made a quiet noise when skin
protested.

Erin froze and tilted Cupid slightly until he could see what had made him
flinch, tilted him again to see the other side, then very gently slid his
fingertips along the marks.
"Oh Zeus, did I do that?" Cupid peered down at his shoulder where the blue
green bruises did look a lot like fingers. There really was no point trying
to lie about that.

"Erin it could have been a lot worse," 'You could have broken my arms,' but
there was no way he would say that out loud, not that he needed to because
he could see Erin was pretty much thinking thoughts along those lines
anyway.
"Cupid you should have said something." Cupid smirked just a bit, managed
not to go an embarrassing shade of pink.
"I was a little busy at the time." Erin did smile at that, until something
else occurred to him.
"Is that it, I mean you're not...hurt anywhere else?" What an extremely
delicate way to put it. Cupid shook his head gently.
"No I'm not hurt anywhere else I'm fine, really, I am." Erin took him at his
word, wrapped an arm around his waist and kissed his shoulder.
"Sorry." Cupid didn't mind, really he didn't. He grabbed Erin's hand where
it rested and looped his own round it.

"But I mean, I can't go out like this." Cupid pointed out, touching his
shoulder carefully. Erin flipped him an apologetic look which was more guilt
than apology. Cupid grinned widely, slid down and rolled until he could flop
his head onto Erin's stomach, which involved a very interested inhale and a
hand in his hair.
"I'd quite like to stay in here until they go away but I think someone would
come looking for us." He punctuated his statement by biting down near Erin's
hip, sent a hand sliding across warm skin. Erin grunted agreement. Cupid
turned his head, which provoked another inhale. Cupid decided this was
definitely fun, he breathed out hard, watched the sheet flutter and Erin's
hand tightened a little in his hair. He lifted his head and settled it on
Erin's chest, bent enough to kiss the skin above his ribcage.

"You make me feel half naked y'know, which is a new thing." Erin raised an
eyebrow.
"I think it's a good thing, new but good, like I should be wearing a shirt."
Cupid kissed him again. Erin slid his hand back into Cupid's hair, softer
than before.
"Being stared at is not all it's cracked up to be, well unless it's you
staring." Erin's thumb pulled back far enough to glide across Cupid's cheek.
Cupid peered at his shoulder again, it still looked very incriminating.

"Use some green stuff," Erin offered quietly. Cupid would if he knew where
his Mom had moved it too, reluctantly though since he rather liked the way
they ached just a little bit.
"She moved it again, I'm leaning towards the shirt idea, I've always wanted
to wear one." Erin snorted.
"You don't own one." Cupid shifted upright again.

"I could borrow yours." Erin pointedly lifted a wing and flapped it. Cupid
slapped his hands away.
"So I'll rip holes in the back." Because for some odd reason he really liked
the idea, Erin had been wearing shirts and vests and other top like things
all his life and well it would be Erin's.
"Hang on a sec, You're the one that has more clothes than your Mother and
it's one of my shirts which gets ripped into tiny pieces?"
"She moved the green stuff, I'm terrible at calling stuff when I don't know
where the hell it is."
"It exists in-potentia in almost every place in this temple, just follow
it's temporal signature." Cupid pouted
"Can't I just please borrow your shirt!" That was the thing about getting
something into your head. Cupid was surprised when Erin's frustrated face
curved into a smile.
"You really want to borrow my shirt that badly?" Cupid frowned, then smiled,
it looked like Erin kind of liked the idea too.
"Yes I want to borrow your shirt."

Erin chuckled and leant down over the end of the bed, giving Cupid a view
which would have a been a lot better without the sheet.
"Here, knock yourself out," and Cupid was holding a piece of black fabric
that he didn't have a clue how to put on. He turned it, it didn't look a
thing like a harness, the only other chest thing he'd ever worn.
"Umm." Erin chuckled at him.
"Turn around." Cupid shuffled.
"Make your wings as thin as you can." Cupid stretched them out, tried his
best, then heard a tearing noise and he did feel sort of bad for Erin's
shirt really. Then a hand curled round the flight feathers and shoved
something over them jostling Cupid to one side, then the other.
"Ok that's weird."
"Other one." Cupid tilted his left wing, which got the same treatment. Then
his wings felt constricted briefly, which wasn't nice at all but he knew if
he flapped there wouldn't be a shirt left.

"Cupid put you arm out straight to the side." He did, Erin grasped his
wrist, tilted it until it was almost uncomfortable and then shoved something
over it.
"Other arm, same deal." Which provoked more pulling and shoving and finally
looseness, weird looseness and scratchiness at his throat. He sat there with
his arms out, Erin slid out from under the sheet and knelt in front of him,
which was very very nice and definitely distracting from the shirt
weirdness.

"Put your arms down." Cupid did, 'ask and I will obey master,' which he had
to giggle at. Erin eyed him, then started to lace him up, faster than Cupid
could manage in a billion years. It was nicer than he'd thought because the
thing smelled like Erin. It made up for the strange sensation on every part
of skin from the waist up. Cupid tilted his chin back wide eyed as Erin
laced higher and higher, eventually stopped, Cupid unconsciously moved his
hands to his neck.

"Erin I'm gonna choke!" Erin pulled Cupid's hands away from his throat.
"You're not going to choke, there's like four inches there." Erin pulled the
collar straight, then sat back, swallowed. Cupid pulled a face.
"Is it that bad, do I look stupi-" Then he made a muffled noise because Erin
had literally jumped him, had his arms wrapped so tightly around his waist
and he could feel them through the fabric. Kissing was slightly more
important than clothes, which he wouldn't be wearing if Erin's hands got any
tighter in the material.

Cupid wasn't going to complain, he wasn't, especially when Erin lowered his
hands, clasped the hem of the shirt and started pulling it up and he was
fairly certain he was going to be not wearing it in a minute. Until Erin
pulled away on a gasp and dropped his head onto one fabric covered shoulder.
"Oh Zeus." Cupid stared at the ceiling for a minute, whimpered, felt Erin's
head drag across the fabric.

"I'm guessing you like the shirt?" Cupid offered breathlessly Erin growled
at him. Cupid laughed and wrapped his arms around Erin, squeezed until he
grunted. Erin pulled away, though his eyes had gone decidedly dark.
"So I look ok, I could go out like this." Erin blinked.
"No," Cupid frowned.
"Why not?" Erin smiled.
"You're not wearing any pants." Cupid looked down, laughed and started to
shuffle to the end of the bed on his hands and knees. Which made Erin growl
even louder, the bed dipped and he was flipped onto his back laughing, shirt
riding up past his navel. Erin was looking down at him, looking anything but
amused. Cupid liked being looked at like that, a lot, he liked an Erin who
did things like this, he liked an Erin who was there when he woke up, he
liked everything.

//Cupid are you trying to drive me insane?// Cupid purred because that
didn't sound like a terrible prospect. He wasn't putting any pants on from
this position though.
"Erin?" He was still looking at him like he expected him to vanish any
minute. Erin didn't look like he was going anywhere though, thank Zeus. In
fact he lowered his head and crushed his mouth over Cupid's.
//I take it we're going to be late this morning then?// Erin kissed him
harder, since that was pretty much licence to keep doing naughty things.
//Uh huh.// Then Erin stopped kissing him, not so much fun.

Erin's head lifted away from his.
"You're going to tell me if I hurt you right?" Cupid managed a growl of his
own and arched up until he could bite Erin's chin.
"Be quiet!" Erin raised an eyebrow then lifted a hand and very quickly
started unlacing the shirt until he could shove both sides apart. That felt
better, skin and oh skin. Erin ducked his head and wrapped his lips round a
nipple. Cupid made a tiny noise, it turned into a slightly louder noise when
Erin dragged his tongue lower. When lips reached his navel the noise became
a groan and when Erin's head slid even further down Cupid stopped making any
noises at all, just breathed shakily. Until he felt exactly where Erin ended
up. Cupid sucked a breath, whimpered.
"Oh My Gods!"

---

Aphrodite peered at the table while she went through the mountain of stuff
that had already been left for her. What did she want for breakfast? Eggs or
pancakes, eggs or pancakes. Not exactly dread important but growing boys
appreciated breakfast and it was her responsibility to feed Cupid until he
either grew out of it or felt like making his own.

Speak of the devil, he sprang out of his bedroom like his feet were on fire.
"Hi Mom." She couldn't stop the scroll from dropping on the table. Zeus
she'd never seen less of her son in his life. He was wearing a shirt, an
actual shirt. He treated her to a hug, something which was becoming horribly
rare and a kiss on the cheek which was suspicious in itself. then let her go
and flopped onto the table.
"I'm late I know, late, do you like the look, it sort of feels weird, itchy
and strange, like I'm wrapped in bandages but I sort of like it. I think
I'll make a few."

He plucked at the shirt which Aphrodite smiled at, then he smoothed it down,
appearing to wonder whether it was supposed to be tucked in or not.
"Are you making breakfast, cos I'm gonna wash up and be out." She nodded.
"Mmm hmm." Cupid grinned at her like he was possessed, also very
uncharacteristic, and she noticed he was looking a little flushed. Cupid
pushed away from the table.

Oh well, looked like it was two for breakfast not three, Erin would be late
as it was though. She watched her son scamper off and fought a very
uncharacteristic urge to laugh hysterically at his sheer preciousness.
"Goddess of Love, all seeing, all knowing," She made eggs, she was in the
mood for eggs.



Title: Growing Up 34: Queen for a Day
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Pep has an extremely interesting day and learns she has more
friends than she thought!

Pep groaned into the pillows, made a snorty noise and decided that since her
mother was already up and out and since Hestia wasn't going to be dragging
her through an extremely boring flower arranging session til noon then she
wasn't going to get up dammit, screw Olympus til at least then. She pulled
the sheets over her head and made a contented little noise. Until the sheets
flapped about and someone cleared their throat.

"Persephone?" Persephone sat up quickly in a tangle of sheets, poked her
head out of a fold, blinked and wrapped the material slightly tighter around
her. Which was about the moment her brain decided it wanted to be decended
from monkey's too. There was a half naked man in her room, there was a half
naked man in her room, why was there a half naked...Hermes in her room? Why
was he looking at her, he should stop looking at her and oh she'd never been
this close to him and he smelled nice?

He was looking at her he was still looking at her, why was he in her room,
while she was in bed? Which was a little bit like that dream that she had
that she wasn't going to think about while another mind reading God was
present. Zeus how come she hadn't noticed how blonde she was, or maybe the
light in here was making his extra shiny, and his eyes were just...she was
sure there was a good word, something long involving many syllables which
probably ended in 'ious'.

He was leaning against her dresser, which Oh Zeus 'horror' still had a few
dolls stacked on top of it. Had she thrown her clothes on the floor before
she got into bed last night? Was there still a slight smell of chocolate
floating around and why were the walls pink, why did they have to be pink
and oh what did it matter since she was rolled up like a damn mummy with
only her eyes peeking out!

"What are you doing in my room?" Which was supposed to come out quite adult
and maybe a little miffed, not completely working since, well still
technically hiding. Was Hermes allowed to just pop into people's bedrooms
like this She pulled the sheet off of her head a little. Hermes blinked,
looked around.

"You weren't shielding it, So I just popped straight to you?" Pep went a
little red, oh yes, Mom had told her about that. Hermes cocked his head a
little.
"Sorry...if I scared you." Pep pulled the sheet down until her entire head
was showing.
"Umm, that's ok."
"You are Persephone right?" Pep nodded, while inwardly desperately trying to
look cool, unphased and 'please Zeus' just the tiniest bit lovely. Though a
nasty part of her subconscious was pointing out that her hair was probably
sticking up every way possible and it was highly likely she had pillow
creases on her face. 'I hate my life.'

"Scroll for you." Which had Pep's eyes widening, wow, an actual scroll
delivered by Hermes himself! Hermes tossed it and Pep had no choice but to
stretch a hand out of the sheet and catch it, which unfortunately gave
Hermes quite a good look at her teddy pyjama's. 'I hate my life.' Hermes
winked at her. Pep felt her face go tingly.
"See ya kid." He vanished, Pep scowled.
"Kid, I'm nearly fifteen!" She glared at the spot where he'd been, then
sighed and unwrapped the scroll. It was indeed a proper one, complete with
whirly black writing.

~~~
Pep,

If you're still stuck for a present go to the green and black temple, at the
back of the North side, grab the skinny guy with a beard and tell him we
sent you, he'll get you in.
Note: Something with wings?

Love
E
~~~

Pep grinned, she was still stuck in fact.
"Thank you Erin!"

---

Pep couldn't resist peering into the box, they were really pretty, so Cupid
would probably like them. She'd spent ages and that literally was ages
watching them made, but it was worth it because well it was Cupid and she
didn't care if him and Erin had a thing, she could still give them stuff
she'd just have to find someone else to occasionally do the whole fluttery
eyelashes thing at.

Well as soon as she got it right anyway because she was nowhere near as good
as Aphrodite. She just looked stupid, like she had a bug in her eye. That
was impressing no one, she'd tried it on Aether God of Air because he was
almost as nice as Cupid. He'd just grinned and ruffled her hair. She so
should be out of the hair ruffling phase by now, she was fourteen for Zeus
sake! It was the clothes Mother made her wear, and the stupid hairdo, she
was not going to end up a mini Demeter. Though she had a nasty feeling Mom
was already picking up floor length beige dresses and making lots of pearl
jewellery, the horror!

She shoved open the door to the East corridor with an elbow, making sure
that the box didn't tilt and flip open. It had cost her some more snow from
her mother's globe and a kiss on the cheek, which she didn't mind so much,
even though his skin had been really cold. Mother would die if she knew Pep
had been in his temple but Pep had been totally ready to kick him had he
turned out to be creepy, which he hadn't.

Someone bumped into her and she stopped, made a short noise of panic when
the box slid, she gripped it tightly with both hands and squeaked. The
bumping figure straightened her and grinned.
"Hey, looking where you're going that really helps." Pep held the box and
looked up into a pretty smiling face framed by white blonde hair. He had
fluttering eyelashes possibilities. She smiled, thought about trying it
since he didn't look all that old.

Her Godhood was prickling, she knew she was supposed to trust it so she
investigated some more. He didn't feel like Spring, or Summer or Winter. The
God felt like Autumn, he felt like decay and change, and he smelt like
mildew and the sea. Her eyes scanned his face some more, head tilting,
abruptly she clutched the box to her chest and backed up a step.

"Go away." The eyebrows rose.
"What?" Pep backed up another step.
"I know who you are, I know what you are, stay away from me." The God raised
his eyebrows.
"And who and what do you think I am princess?" Pep's eyes narrowed.
"You're Triton and you're a piece of shit!" Triton raised an eyebrow.
"Tsh, nasty words to come out of such a pretty mouth." Triton snatched the
box from her hands and then shoved her when she tried to grab it back. Pep
shook in a mini fury.

"Give it back or you'll be sorry!" Triton laughed.
"Or what princess? What are you going to do." Pep narrowed her eyes, pulled
back a leg and swung it sharply. It hit Triton's shin with a sharp crack. He
yelped and lifted that leg.
"You little bitch, oh you're gonna pay for that!" He snatched her jaw in one
cold damp hand and Pep kicked him again, then twisted her head and clamped
her teeth around a generous chunk of palm. Triton growled and tore his hand
free, pulled it back ready to slap her round the face. Pep hadn't quite got
around to learning unarmed combat, so she decided now would be a good time
to go back to basics, it was ok to be a girl sometimes after all.
//Someone Help!//

And someone heard her. Someone who had made tiny coloured metal butterflies
just for the Goddess of Seasons.

Triton's arm swung, was caught inches from Pep's face and Triton found
himself face to face with a not entirely pleased God of Gateways. Triton's
face did something very strange, it sort of lurched downwards. Not so much
afraid, it was like all his facial muscles had just stopped working out of
shock, he made a very deep noise, like his throat was falling out, which
felt odd all the way down to Persephone's toes. Janus lifted his other arm
and took the box from Triton's unresisting hand.

"Persephone," he said quietly and handed her the box. She would let Janus
off just this once for using her full name, since he'd saved her and
everything. Triton made a tiny noise and it was the first time Pep saw a God
wet themselves, she didn't even think that was possible, yet another thing
no one had told her about. He just did and it was funny and sort of scary
and she'd never seen anyone look so tiny in her life. Janus tilted his head
until that long spike of hair almost touched Triton's forehead but Triton
didn't back away, he looked sort of frozen.
"You really should have learnt your lesson by now Triton shouldn't you Hmm?"
Pep would have thought he'd notice, that he was well in a state of
embarrassment but Triton still didn't move and Pep got the feeling she
really shouldn't either until it was all finished. Oh and Janus should smile
more often because it was pretty, only ok maybe with less teeth.

She was so busy concentrating on the smile that it took her a moment to work
out that Triton was sort of...fading? Then he wasn't fading anymore because
he was mostly not there and then he was definitely gone, because Janus arm
dropped when there was nothing left to hold. He brushed his hands together
so they made little swish, swish sounds, turned around.

"Hi again," Pep offered, though that didn't really seem like enough.
"Where'd he go, did you pop him somewhere?" Janus blinked, regarded the
space where Triton had been standing, then looked at her again.
"I'll fetch him later." He said gently, Pep nodded, it couldn't be that
awful then if Janus was gonna go get him back, she hoped it was scary
though.

"Mom would be pissed if I made someone vanish, I mean I'm not sure I could
and everything but even if I didn't I might forget where he went and-" Pep
sighed.

"Thank you, I really didn't want to get slapped this morning, I did kick him
that usually hurts enough that they don't bother me anymore." She fiddled
with the box, tried to re-latch it where it had come undone.
"I didn't mean to scream like a girl, I mean I don't usually." Janus blinked
and smiled.
"But thank you, I suppose I'll have to come get something pierced now,
something my mother can't see." Another smile, Janus bent enough to re-latch
the box tightly. Pep leant up and gave him another kiss on the cheek. He
smelt like copper and cherries, which wasn't all bad.

"I shall find something special for you." He offered quietly and Pep
couldn't help but grin. Janus straightened, offered one last glance at the
Triton-less space.
"Something with fairies?" Janus green eye rolled.
"I suppose I can work with fairies."
"Without fangs and claws and droplets of blood an all?" Janus pretended to
look put upon.
"I shall try my very best." Pep grinned, then tilted her head just a little.
"So where'd you send him?" Janus eye blinked very slowly.
"You're not gonna tell me are you?" Janus shook his head. Pep shifted onto
her other foot, it was sort of her fault after all.
"Are you gonna get in trouble?" Janus looked at her very carefully, then
smiled which she took to mean either 'no' or 'probably but I don't care in
the slightest'. Pep breathed a sigh of relief.

"Go careful now." Janus said quietly. A blue doorway appeared behind him and
he stepped through it. Pep sighed, ok she was going to have to start paying
serious attention to the other half of her family. She shifted the box and
set off again.

---

"Guys, you won't believe-holy shit!" Pep clamped a hand over her eyes.
"Pep!"
"Pep!" There was a thump, some swearing and the bed creaked. She clamped her
hand tighter.
"I knocked." She protested near hysterically.
"I knocked dammit! You didn't say anything, how was I to know you were
naked." Then, just for the sheer hell of it, she separated two fingers.
Whoah nice view, she made a squeaky noise and squashed her fingers back
together again.
"You're supposed to wait for an answer y'know, Zeus you scared the hell out
of us." Which had to be Cupid because he was the only person Pep knew who
could sound like he was blushing, she tilted her head in the direction his
voice came from.

"Well how was I supposed to know you'd be naked Why are you naked? Oh God
forget I said that, forget I said it and never repeat it!" She shook her
head violently behind her hand, while wondering if there were any other
opportunities for nakedness she could make a habit of walking in on.

"I'm not looking for Hades sake, I'm not looking!" Then since she probably
should try and rewind just in case they caught the moment of flabbergasted
shock, she contorted her mouth into an expression of startled
unpleasantness.
"I can't even wander around without bumping into naked people these days,
what's a girl to do." Her traitorous fingers were parting again, damn those
unconscious impulses, damn them! Though when she got a blurry half glimpse
of a little more than she bargained for she lost her nerve and squashed her
hand back so tightly she saw spots.

"Tartarus Pep wait for an answer next time." Well if someone had warned her
they'd be a possibility of nakedness and mutual exchanging of bodily fluids
she would have waited outside the damn door, wouldn't she now, and she could
tell she was flustered because she hadn't blurted that out loud. they were
supposed to tell her stuff like this, Hades no they weren't, what was she
thinking. She realised she didn't particularly like standing here with her
eyes closed listening to assorted thuds. She knew for a fact they were
talking so she couldn't hear them.

"I should be traumatised," she offered into the silence.
"Oh put a sock in it!" One of them threw something at her, probably Erin
since his aim was better.
"Ow, quit that!"

"Ok open your eyes if you must!" She did, squinted, they were dressed,
flopped back on the bed looking sort of embarrassed and just a tiny bit
pissed.
"I did knock!" She protested again.
"I did, but you haven't been to see me in a while and maybe I was just a
little pissed and didn't wait that long before coming in." Which was the
truth, she checked their facial expression and ok the pissed was fading a
smidge.
"Sorry," which was addressed mostly to Erin, since he was looking like he
had far more brain cells. For someone who was going to be spending
practically all of his life living in a whirl of nakedness and general porn
Cupid was such a prude.
"That's ok, don't do it again though." Pep tried to look contrite, then
decided not to.

"Of course now I know why you haven't been to see me." Yes, this was good,
work some guilt out of them. Ok maybe not that much guilt considering the
way they were looking at each other.

"Oh you're forgiven, I'm sure when I'm having sex a lot I won't be giving
you the time of day." She flipped her hair for show and actually got a smile
out of them both, maybe not quite the smile she was aiming for.
"Hey, it could happen!" She gave up and flopped on the bed, then carefully
stood up, eyed the bit where she'd sat down curiously. Cupid kicked her and
she shrugged and sat down again.

"Ok now you're both re-panted how about a little me time?" She bounced, then
wiggled to face them.
"Whatever you two did today, I bet I could top it!" No, no bad expressions.
She folded her arms and tried to stop the laughing with a withering
expression, which didn't work a bit.
"Oh act your age!"



Title: Growing Up 35: Points of View
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S mentions of P/B
Warning: A few swearwords.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Erin gets a brief lesson on Love.


"Strife? Strife!" Phonos solved the equation by drawing the knife in one
sharp movement across Strife's cheek.
"Ow, shit Phonos, what the Tartarus was that for?" Strife touched his cheek
and his fingers came away bloody. Phonos tilted the knife until he could tap
it against his own face.
"Do you realise how close I just came to stabbing you in the throat." Strife
wiped his cheek until the line disappeared.
"You didn't have to cut me, Zeus why are you in such a bad mood this
morning?" Phonos stopped tapping the knife and slid it into his belt.

"Strife I'm never in a good mood, I'm Murder which isn't conductive to
liking bunnies and braiding flowers in my hair." Strife was sniggering at
him, which wasn't amusing in the slightest.
"I wasn't expecting any bunnies but you could not slice me up at least!"
Phonos scowled and set his hands on his hips.
"It's pointless doing this when you're distracted, go find something else to
do!" Which was polite considering Phonos really just wanted to tell him to
fuck off. He really wasn't in the mood for anyone post porn this morning.
It was written all over his damn face.

"Oh Phonos come on, I'll concentrate, stop being such a stick." Which wasn't
the best thing to hear after this morning.
"I will be as much of a stick as I like, I'm Murder, I don't do fun!" Strife
leaned back a little out of biting range.
"Umm is this about Bacchus?" Phonos gave him a look which really did make
him shrink away from him in surprise.
"Did you have a fight?" Oh it must be horrible to be young and simple.

"No, at least not in any violent bloody way!" Which as far as Phonos was
concerned was the only way to fight. Words just got in the way of all the
sharp objects that could be thrown.

"He was busy!" Phonos snapped, then clenched his teeth so hard he was amazed
they didn't all shatter in his mouth. Strife mouth shut and he shuffled, yes
do the little embarrassed dance for my benefit, then laugh, you're pretty
much entitled to it.
"With someone else?" Phonos glared.
"No with a goat, of course someone else!" 'Phonos, stop shouting, Murder
doesn't bellow like a common thug,' he cleared his throat and dragged his
face back into something that didn't look like it was snarling.
"Someone who likes bunnies and braids flowers in their hair?" Strife offered
very carefully. Phonos sent another glare, decided it would be fine if his
face stuck in that position.

"Bacchus lives to corrupt and be creative." Phonos was about as corrupt and
creative as they came, so why was he surprised to be replaced by someone so
damn...shiny.
"Momus!" He snapped out eventually, Strife cringed, then made a very small
snort of something, though he stifled it very quickly, at least someone
around here was still afraid of him. Phonos didn't blame him though, to be
turned over for what amounted to the God of Laughter was
just...embarrassing, and he did braid flowers in his hair Zeus dammit!

"And when Bacchus has finished tearing the flowers out of his hair and
choked that laughter into a scream he'll get bored!" Strife was looking at
him with one of his eyebrows raised.
"Do you love him?" Phonos raised an eyebrow, what an odd question to ask.
"No it's just nice to fuck someone who's more perverted than me." Strife's
eyes went wide, then his head tilted, trying to work out if Phonos was being
sarcastic or not, the young were so precious. Phonos drew his lips together
and pulled his knife out again.
"Pick a weapon, and learn to duck, the next stroke won't be pulled and if
you're not concentrating you can look for your own damn head!"

---

Cupid stopped oiling his bow and looked up.
"He said what?" Erin was still looking at the ceiling, one eyebrow raised.
"He said 'No it's just nice to fuck someone who's more perverted than me.'"
Cupid made a noise.
"That's what I thought you said."
"He was looking at me funny too, like I was stupid or something, like I was
asking him if his hair was green. I don't know whether he was just baiting
me or whether he was being Phonos and I was sort of wondering-" Erin stopped
and pulled Cupid's bow out from under his fingertips, then looked at him,
raised an eyebrow. Cupid blinked.
"What?" Erin appeared to be attempting to pout.
"What?!"

Erin's fingers had started a little dance across his bow, oh, of course, how
dumb of him.
"No!"
"Cupid!" Cupid pulled his bow back with both hands. Erin didn't try to pull
it back but he did watch it go forlornly.
"Oh come on Cupe, you're allowed to do Gods!"
"Not yet, and not unless Mom says so, for the first century or so anyway."
He curled his fingers round the bow slightly tighter.

"He's miserable." Erin offered.
"Really miserable." Cupid shunted the bow a little further along the table.
"Phonos is always like that." Erin slapped the table and then flopped onto
it so he could look up at Cupid.

"No he's not, he's biting and scathing and unpleasant, occasionally painful
to be around but he's never miserable." Cupid shook his head.
"How can you tell he's miserable then?" Erin frowned.
"He just is, you can tell, well I can anyway." Cupid didn't look convinced.
"He just is, he's chaotic, Phonos is never chaotic, he's a very tight wire
and something's made him go twang." Cupid raised an eyebrow.
"Descriptive."
"No, you know what I mean he's vibrating, Phonos never vibrates, I've known
dead people with less twitches!" Cupid was looking at him again.

"Ok then not necessarily the bow, you're love, work something out."
Wonderful, no pressure or anything.
"He's my friend Cupe...in a twisted knife's me if I'm not concentrating sort
of way but he is my friend." Cupid thought about it, which wasn't as easy as
it sounded considering Erin still appeared to be practising his pout on him.

"What about Bacchus?" He offered finally.
"What about him?" Cupid resisted the urge to make a 'duh' face.
"Does he love Phonos?" Erin shrugged.
"He tossed him out for a guy who laughs near constantly and wears flowers in
his hair." Cupid tilted his head.
"That's quite a switch don't you think, especially if they were..." He waved
a hand in a gesture which couldn't be mistaken.
"If they were what?" Ok perhaps it could.
"Well they were pretty tight." Erin was still frowning and shaking his head.
"Oh forget it!" Cupid stood up, strapped his bow back on his belt and looped
an arm through Erin's.

"Come on." Erin let himself be levered upright.
"Where are we going?"
"Do you want my help or not?"
"Always," Erin offered.
"Pretty much constantly, I'm an idiot by myself, totally unable to tie my
own shoelaces." Cupid scowled.
"Ok I do recognise sucking up when I here it you know, God of Love not
Stupidity." Erin was grinning again, Erin when he got what he wanted was
always grinning.
"You'll talk to someone right, or at least y'know make with the
suggestions."

Cupid looked at Erin, sighed, oh Hades, and then he did have an idea, an
idea which had the possibility of back-firing, or getting him in trouble. Oh
Hades did Erin even know how much he'd do for him, when his Mom had said
never ever lend his bow to anyone or leave it lying around he'd never
imagined the possibility that one day he'd be completely comfortable closing
his eyes and just tossing it if Erin asked the right way. Erin wasn't
though, he was trusting Cupid to know best.
"I'll do more than that." Cupid said softly, Erin looked intrigued, hopeful,
very distracting.

"Like my Dad says, 'Love can play rough if it has to!'" Erin raised an
eyebrow.
"It can?" Cupid's eyes rolled in his direction.
"Yes." Erin blinked, the corner of his mouth tilted.
"Ok." Cupid shook his head and reached a hand back, pulled an arrow out by
feel alone, eyed the green feather, then slotted it into his bow.
"Well I'm not allowed to make Gods fall in love yet, but Mom never said
anything about jealousy being off limits." Erin made a noise and put a hand
on Cupid's bow, pushed it to the side and leant in long enough to tangle a
hand in Cupid's hair and kiss him.

When he broke away Cupid blinked.
"I didn't do anything yet." Erin just grinned at him, and Cupid had to stop
for a minute because he realised something. Erin would have done that even
if he'd said no.

---

Bacchus was in his temple, which was pretty much a 'hooray' since it meant
they didn't have to scour Olympus to find him. Unfortunately he was
somewhere beyond a pile of broken furniture and a collapsed wall, which sort
of nipped the 'hooray' in the bud.

Cupid and Erin looked at each other, then looked at the mess, then looked at
the Bacchae who were being very un-creature of the night and hiding behind
anything which could afford them protection.

"Do you think Bacchus is a little more broken up than we thought?" Cupid
prodded the remains of an altar with his foot.
"Either that or he made a really bad batch of wine!" Erin took an arm and
very carefully they started to climb over the rubble. While the Bacchae made
frantic head shaking movements in the background.

"This is a good thing right? Bacchus throwing furniture around, this is
definitely an Ooops strategy in the world of bad break ups." Cupid made a
noncommited noise.
"Cupe? rubble good right?" Cupid made another noise, he was thinking.
"It means Bacchus is in love with him right, since the place is trashed,
trashing as an expression of pain and all that." Cupid slid down the other
half of the altar and ducked through a hole in the main doors.
"Not necessarily." Cupid offered remembering exactly what his fathers temple
had looked like when him and Ate had a thing.

The main temple was dark, though faint crashing noises could be heard from
one of the inner rooms. Though a quick check convinced them that Bacchus was
alone. Cupid stepped forward and knocked, Erin slid in beside him.
"Maybe this wasn't one of my best ideas." he whispered.
"We're here now." Cupid pointed out, but to be honest he was working and he
wanted to see this through, even if it meant having furniture thrown at him.

A titanic growl went up from within.
"What!" the doors rattled. Cupid and Erin swayed backwards a step. Cupid
nudged Erin, gestured. Erin pointed at himself and mouthed 'me', Cupid
nodded, Erin rolled his eyes.
"Bacchus, it's Strife!" A few seconds silence, in which Erin waited warily
with wide eyes and Cupid just stared at the doors, after a second he nodded.
"Come in." The growling had gone down a little. Erin pushed the doors open
and they both stepped through.

Bacchus was glaring at what remained of his desk, it looked like it had
crashed apart the second or third time he'd put his horns through it. He
looked up abruptly, then came as close as he could get to giving anyone a
nervous look when he saw Cupid. 'I'm going to have to get used to that'
Cupid thought suddenly, people looking at me as if I'm about to laugh and
dance around them then set them up with their own sister.

"Umm, what do you want, excuse the mess, I've been cleaning." Bacchus
shifted the broken desk with a foot, then attempted to brush ceiling dust
off of his chest.

"It's about Phonos." Erin said quietly, since if anyone was going to have
something thrown at them it would be him dammit. Bacchus flinched, actually
flinched, when he said that. Erin couldn't for the life of him work out of
that was a good sign or not.

//You've got him, go on.// Erin gave Cupid a sideways look, but Love was
just standing by his side like he'd come along in the hope of snacks.
"He umm-" Bacchus, not known for his listening skills, was hanging onto his
voice like he was the smartest man alive. Cupid did the equivalent of a
mental throat clearing.
//Say he misses him!// Erin floundered for a second.
//I'm not entirely sure that's true Cupe.//
//Just say it!//
"He's miserable and I was wondering...if you umm..."
//Cupid some help here!//
//Tell him about the vibrating, tell him Phonos is wired!// Erin blinked.

"He's not himself, he's all weird, he's vibrating and he won't concentrate
and I can't get him to talk to me. I mean I know I shouldn't stick my head
in but...I think he misses you and you know Phonos, he doesn't believe in
the word 'sorry.'" Cupid remained silent, that was good right, right?

"He misses me?" That soft growl coming out of Bacchus throat should have
sounded wrong, it was almost plaintive. Erin blinked, then rallied and
nodded frantically.
"Yes, he's feeling like shit-" Bacchus growled, Erin was about to say
something else.
//Hold it, quiet.// 'You're the boss.' Erin decided and shut him mouth.

"It was a present, I got him a present, he likes presents which squirm, he
was supposed to stay and play." Bacchus growling got louder until he
eventually cleared his throat.

//Tell him what Phonos thought, tell him quickly!// Ok lets not question the
Love God.
"He thought you were cheating on him, he thought you'd thrown him out for
Momus." Erin offered quietly. Bacchus head flew up so hard his left horn
smashed a chunk in the plaster.
"HE WHAT!" Cupid and Erin stepped back so hard, they both stumbled and
nearly fell in the rubble.

Then they eventually did end up in the rubble, when seven and a half feet of
panicked God of Debauchery shoved past them and swept out through the doors.

Erin shifted in the rubble until he wasn't laying on what was left of a
stone basin.
"We didn't need the bow after all." he pointed out, then craned his head
until he could see Cupid.
"Did we help?" Cupid groaned and pulled a brick out from under his back.
"That depends on Phonos." Erin waved a hand.
"If he doesn't listen Bacchus will just tie him up until he does." Cupid
raised an eyebrow.
"You got that mental image too?"
"Oh yeah!" Erin groaned and shifted again.

"This Love stuff is more panful than it looks." Cupid snorted and dropped
his head into a pile of plasterdust.
"Tell me about it!"



Title: Growing Up 36: Heartless
Author: Corona
Rating: R (Strong language, creepiness)
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Talk of violence, strong language.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Discord wonders where her life went, and receives a visitor.



The temple doors slammed shut behind Discord, plunging her into darkness
which smelt like wet copper, tulips and death. Every time she hoped it
would get a little better, a little less creepy, a little more like
something normal, instead of something which sent your spine trying to crawl
up inside your skull. She never stayed when someone needed Bia to be
Violence, there was a reason she wasn't commanded to stay nights in his room
after all.

She stood still in utter darkness, trying not to breath hard, trying not to
remember that in the darkness you couldn't see anything. It was done and she
was free to be Discord, free to be the bitch that she was, there was enough
Chaos and damp fear in this room to ratch her Godhood up a notch, that
sliver of power helped her slip back into her role, even if maybe sometimes
she didn't quite feel up to it.

"Bia!" She hated this, hated the little fucking quirks she was learning to
put up with, she used to be a law unto herself for fucks sake and here she
was, standing in the darkness and hoping her husband would turn on the
lights, speak, not slink out of a corner somewhere and touch her dammit.

"For fucks sake Bia!" she gave up, when the lunatic decided he wanted to be
in the dark you didn't light a thing. He'd scared the shit out of her last
time and she'd learnt quickly that was definitely something you didn't do.
It made her sick that she was getting used to this, catering to the lunatics
whims. This was her punishment, this was also a madhouse, she'd be lucky if
she was ever sane again, coming back to this place.

She was actually missing the little bastard, she never thought that would
happen, he'd always been there to harass, throw things at and shove around,
he was her control, her property, something no one else could screw with.
She couldn't judge her mood on her own. What would he be anyway, Nineteen?
Seventeen? Somewhere around there anyway. No one would tell her anything,
they should at least have the fucking courtesy to tell her if he was making
a mess of things or turning out ok.

Ares wouldn't tell her shit, even though he was dragging the brat up, he was
the only one that would actually come in. They were too afraid of the freak
in the corner who stared at them, occasionally offered bits of skin in place
of snacks...freak. She was married to the only God who had to be chained up
in public. She stumbled on something the maniac had left on the floor.

"Shit," there was no way she was going to fumble around to find out what it
was, she wasn't stupid, it could have been a table but it could be something
a whole lot worse. She shoved it with her foot and stepped far over the
other side.
"BIA!" She stood there in the dark teeth clenched, panting.

She hissed when the torches abruptly flared to life, she blinked, then
relaxed. She glanced downwards, it had been a table. She shook herself,
unwilling to admit she'd been freaking out. She turned her head very slowly,
hand already lifted to get rid of anything Bia had left lying around. Then
found herself listing slightly in relief when the temple appeared barer than
the smell suggested. She managed to collect a little more of herself around
her and clenched it tighter until she very nearly felt normal.

The second thing she did was look around for Bia.

He was sat at the table, knife held in one hand, scoring the wood in what
she knew to be long calming drags of the knife. Bia's equivalent of chilling
out after a long night. Discord glared at him, flopped down on the opposite
side. She put her feet up on the table. Bia ignored her and kept scratching
the wood patternlessly.

Anyone else, anyone in the entire damn pantheon she would have screwed by
now, she knew how to control men, the sun could rise and set on her say so
if she teased enough, petted enough. Her generals would have followed her
across broken glass for one glimpse up her skirt.

What was she left with, something a sadomasochistic necrophilliac would run
from. Something even a mother couldn't love. But that had been Hera's point
hadn't it, bitch knew that even Discord had limits. Not that she was allowed
to fuck anyone else, Hera really did a number on her. Be faithful to the
monster Discord, even though you wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole
Discord. She sent a bowl crashing across the table to smash against the
opposite wall, Bia closed his eyes and made a very quiet noise.
"But who knows hey freak, another few millennia and I might actually start
to find you attractive." She grumbled, then shivered despite her snappish
comment, don't give the freak ideas. Bia felt a need to contribute.

"I had a puppy once, Mother did bad things to it." Discord considered the
walking skeleton, sighed, dammit just when she thought she might actually
get some peace Bia decides he's in a talkative mood.
"What did she do?" There was fuck all else to do, might as well listen to
his insane ramblings, at the very least it looked like they would be calm
ramblings, she'd learnt Bia had a plateau, there was only so much mindless
destruction before he had to stop, look at all the pieces and feel...she
didn't know whole? Satisfied? High?

If he got too gross she'd tune him out and look blank. Bia looked up, he
probably thought she'd ignore him, like she always tried to. He looked at
the table again.

"She took it's skin, it didn't look right, it wouldn't walk anymore."
Discord stifled laughter because Bia had the oddest look on his face, almost
sad, definately confused.
"I'm not surprised." She offered.
"I tried, I did, but it just dragged, made shiny red trails, Mother didn't
like that." Discord rolled her eyes, Zeus help the woman who gave birth to
this monster. No, fuck that, if half the things that Bia raved about were
true she was glad the bitch was roasting in Tartarus. Anyone that loopy
should never be allowed out.

"Manny tried to find me a new one, but she's not good with animals, they're
scared of her." Discord rolled her eyes, Mania was a nutcase, pure and
simple, Discord wouldn't trust her to brush her hair by herself. The insane
leading the insane, there was a new saying for Athena to write in her little
book.

"Manny wasn't supposed to twist that much." Discord flinched.
"Stay outta my fucking head." Bia merely shrugged.
"She was better then, softer with less edges," what the hell was he talking
about? What Mania wasn't always insane, smell the roses freak your sister
has always been a loony. Bia looked at her, Discord growled, Bia's head
tilted. She gave up and slumped.

"Ok less edges, I believe you." Bia went quiet and started scratching at the
table again. Oh God this was fucking boring, if he had half a mind she'd
suggest a game but the last time he'd caught her playing chess with Ares
she'd found him later trying to stitch the pieces under his skin, the white
pieces she'd been playing with. It had put her off the game for life.

Bia concentrated on the table, Discord held her breath, braced herself, just
incase. Bia made a soft sound to indicate he'd finished, then slid the knife
out of view. He spent the next few minutes staring at the table until
finally collecting himself into a straighter posture and pulling out a
completely different knife, one of which had some strange and unusual
purpose which Discord couldn't be bothered to memorise.

God this was so fucked up!

'So what did you do today honey,' which if it wasn't so gross would be
amusing.
"Do you ever do anything normal?" Bia looked at the table, then looked at
her. She hadn't really expected an answer, hadn't expected anything. She
wanted to go out but she was still constrained by the amount of time she had
to spend inside the temple. She'd had a nasty feeling she'd used up most of
her outside time.

Then someone knocked on the doors, Discord stood up in one smooth movement.
"Oh thank fuck." Bia gave her an odd look but she ignored him and strode
over to the doors, jerked them both open, she didn't care who was outside,
didn't care if it was Hera herself come to lecture her on the joys of wedded
bliss, hell Thanatos come to personally sing her a lyric would do.

Discord looked out, and made a very soft sound in her throat. The figure
outside the doors looked up at her in agitated anxiety, before it finally
spoke.
"Hello Mom."



Title: Growing Up 37: What You Are
Author: Corona
Rating: R
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: None
Warning: Discussions of child abuse, strong language.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Discord and Strife deal with each other for the first time.


"What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here." Because Discord
couldn't think of anything else to say, she wasn't supposed to see him yet,
not for what...thirty years. Just for a second she would have preferred it
to be anyone else, she wasn't ready, wasn't prepared wasn't...expecting this
yet.

There was no mistaking the dark hair, the wide blue eyes, or the power
signature that thrummed inside him, almost in harmony with her own. He was
taller than her now and Discord felt a twinge of very familiar annoyance.
Resisted the urge to tell him to sit the fuck down and stop looming

Strife pushed the door shut behind him. Spent a moment just looking at her.
"You're not supposed to be here." She said again but so quietly it almost
didn't matter.
"I know." He said softly.
"I wanted to...needed to...I just came I guess." Discord blinked and
everything deserted her except the surprise and the indecision.

"Sit?" She offered, for want of anything else to say, wasn't sure if that
was the right thing, what was he doing here, did anyone else know? Strife
sank into the sofa, didn't bother checking for knives, severed heads or
drying patches of blood, but then of course he lived in a world where
couches were a lot safer. Discord sat opposite him, leaving the small table
between them, sat there, speechless.

"So are you ok?" Strife's eyes slid across to where the God of Violence
still sat. Discord let her eyes wander across to Bia, who was staying
studiously silent at the table, though he was watching them.
"Yeah." Discord offered, because even if she wasn't she didn't tell other
people things like that, even if they were her son. She just sat there then,
she wasn't the greatest conversationalist at the best of times. She was more
of the 'shout and people jump' kind of Goddess, people listened to her
dammit, she couldn't just make small talk, not in this situation anyway.

Maybe she should offer something, this was technically her home and it would
keep the awkward 'sitting in silence' at bay for at least a few seconds.
What kind of snacks did you offer to someone you'd beat unrecognisable, did
they do snacks for that? They'd have to be pretty fucking impressive.

No, she decided, there were no snacks for an occasion like this. There was
nothing for this, it had been nearly ten years and she hadn't once thought
of what she'd eventually say. Discord didn't do excuses, or apologies,
whether she felt them or not.
"You look better than the last time I saw you." She offered flatly, for want
of anything else to say. Waited for Strife to remark 'Really? You look like
shit,' but that was confusing him with her brother. Strife was very
obviously thinking of the last time he'd seen here and exactly what she'd
done.

"Though I don't know if you could actually see me, you looked like shit."
He'd probably felt like it too, she knew for a fact it had taken a long time
to snap him back together again.

"I didn't I was mostly looking at my own spine, that was a real hall of Time
moment." Discord's expression didn't change, but she felt her eye twitch, oh
Gods was madness catching?
"I didn't intend to break you."
"I know" Strife said very softly.

"If I'd known you would broken I wouldn't have..." She stopped, she might
have? Strife was just looking at her, one thin eyebrow raised.
"I probably wouldn't have." She corrected.

He didn't look surprised, maybe that was something he got off of her. Maybe
he didn't believe her, he always had thought she was better than then, but
he'd been small then, not quite finished.

She lifted a hand intending to get a good look at his face, but also
wondering just a little if she could touch him, it had been a long time. He
didn't flinch but he did watch her hand, eyes tracking it, defining it's
intent. Discord laid a cold hand against Strife's ear.

"You've been hanging around with Janus." She considered the sheer amount of
silver and wondered what else had metal through it.
"A lot." Which provoked new and stranger possibilities.
"Are you fucking him?" She was aware that there was a heavy dose of
disbelief mingled with not a little respect and wondered how that had
managed to creep into her voice. Strife's eyebrows canted.
"No, he just likes to experiment, cos I'm so pale."

"That you are." Discord agreed, felt something when Strife didn't seem in
any hurry to shake her hand off of his ear. She let his head go on her own,
because her skin didn't like that so much after all. He surprised her by
speaking, when her hand left.

"Are you sorry Mom?" He really did want to know, maybe that's what had
brought him here in the first place. Discord looked at him, really looked at
him, looked at the way his head tilted and the way his eyes were just the
other side of angry and realised something.
"No." Strife's eyes flickered, mouth drawing open just the faintest bit.
Discord realised it was time to explain, whether she wanted to or not.

"I never wanted kids, I never asked for you, you were-" She stopped
abruptly, aware of what she'd very nearly let slip.
"You were just there and I was supposed to watch you and what? Let you grow
up around me? I am not a 'mother' Strife. I'm Discord, I do what I have to
do and I do it right. I didn't have a fucking clue how to do you right?" She
stopped, scowled at him.

"I left you with Ares, Dite, Hades, Tartarus I even left you with Hades once
cos they knew how to do shit like that." She let out a little laugh then
because it still amused her after all this time.
"You always came back, how fucked up was that!" Strife looked horrified.
"Tartarus Mom."

"Oh I wouldn't have left you with just anyone, if I'd had an inkling that
you'd grow up with someone like Pol I really would have killed you." Which
provoked a flinch she hadn't been aiming for. Why the fuck was she telling
him all this!

"You always came back and you knew what I was like-"
"You were my Mother." Strife said flatly.
"Why the fuck wouldn't I have come back." Discord slapped a hand down on the
table between them and Strife did flinch then.
"Because I didn't want you there, I wanted you somewhere else. I wanted you
away from me so I could concentrate on what I do best without all the hassle
that children can pull on you!" Strife shook his head.

"I wasn't hassle, I was a fucking ghost!" Discord snapped and shoved the
table out of the way, make him understand.
"You really think that! When the entire temple smelled like pineapples and
you were thrumming so hard in my head that I couldn't concentrate, watching
me. Being so fucking fragile and just there, Tartarus." Strife was still
looking at her, still after all this time.

"I don't feel bad because of what happened, I feel bad because you were the
only thing in my life I fucked up, you were supposed to be important and I
fucked up because I couldn't see it. I couldn't see why."

That was so screwed, even more so than everything else. This thing that she
never asked for, never wanted, had to deal with, this thing that loved her
for no good reason just because, just because she'd given birth to it. You
couldn't love someone for no reason, that was so fucked up. You couldn't
love someone just because they were there!

"Everyone was in my face, everyone, with their perfect little kids and their
perfect families, fucking Aphrodite with her perfect winged freak, all the
damn hugging and licking the handkerchief and picking then up when they fell
down. The constant little ice cream laden brats and their stupid toys-" She
stopped dead, then carried on in a lower voice.

"I couldn't do that, I didn't get that and I sure as Tartarus never felt
that." Strife looked pale, and she had the feeling that she'd hurt him as
surely as if she'd smacked him round the face.
"I can't be a Mother Strife, I couldn't then and I can't now." He was quiet
for a long time, though he wasn't feeling nothing, nobody could feel nothing
with that many tears on their face. See a mother wouldn't just sit here and
watch while her kid let his guts fall out.

She tilted her head stared at the wall, then at the broken table, then at
her son. Who had his head so low he had to be staring at his own knees.

"Then don't." He said so quietly she almost didn't hear.
"What?"
"Don't be a Mother, just be Discord, just be something to me, please." Which
was, strange, to just be Discord again, to just be herself. Could she do
that? She looked at Strife, looked at him and tried not to picture herself.
It was harder than she thought. She tried it until he looked a little more
like Ares than her, then slowly leant back into the couch. Maybe, he did
belong to her brother now after all.

"I'm Discord, I'll always be Discord." She said simply, and for some odd
reason hoped that would be enough.
"Discord." Her name didn't sound weird coming out of his mouth, she'd
thought it might but being called that again, it was a good thing.

She stood up, she had things to do after all. She didn't want to go into
this anymore, not today, not for a while, not with him. Strife had to sense
that, because he stood up as well. They both froze a step away from each
other, and Discords arms tensed, oh yes, there was one last thing she was
supposed to do, and she had to admit that it creeped her out. She could do
it though, she owed him...something. He was offering her a way out, a way to
cut it all adrift and pretend it had never happened. A way to be herself
again, she could do it for that, couldn't she?

Very awkwardly she lifted her arms. Strife eyed them like they might bite,
then made a small confused noise and swayed into them anyway. Discord
flinched but forced herself to stay still, just for a second, just for
second. Strife's arms very slowly encircled her and she clenched her teeth
and fought not to shove him away. He squeezed slightly and her entire body
tensed, hands clutching in white fists in mid-air.

He never hurt her, though Discord sensed the possibility, the tension, the
strength in his arms and the indecision. He could have squeezed hard enough
to break, she would have done the same without hesitation. Half a minute of
nothing was too long, too many crawling things and he smelled just the same.
She stiffened and pushed him away, felt the way his godhood wanted to stay
wrapped around her and the way he pulled it back, albeit reluctantly.

He didn't say anything else, which she was actually grateful for, just
disappeared through the main doors, which she stared at for a long time,
still debating whether this had been good or bad. Unsure whether she'd see
him tomorrow or in thirty years, decided tomorrow wouldn't be awful. As long
as he was Strife, just Strife, that maybe she could work with.

She turned away from the doors and nearly ran smack into Bia, who'd stood
when she wasn't looking. It was a miracle he'd managed to sit still through
all that fucking tension, it must have felt like a buffet. How sweet a man
who would attempt to be sane for ten minutes, just for her benefit.

"What you wanna hug too?" She couldn't help the smirk and the raised
eyebrow, it was such a fucking stupid suggestion. Not that she could think
straight because broken things weren't exactly fixed but at least maybe
there was glue in the hole.

Bia took a step forward. Discord let out a little trickle of hysterical
laughter.
"Oh Zeus you do don't you, you do realise you creep the fuck out of me
right?" Bia blinked, his hands pattered around his knives but he didn't pick
one up. It appeared her least favourite lunatic wasn't going to drop it.
What would it really matter, she was Discord after all, no one could fuck
with Discord. She lifted an arm.
"You have exactly two seconds and I'm holding the fucking knife!"



Title: Growing Up 38: Pieces
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
Warning: Some swearing.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Fallout and some thinly cloaked misery.


The doors slid shut behind him and Erin couldn't do much but let his
shoulders sway back onto the wood, lean there and blink very slowly into the
bright light of the corridor. He shut his eyes, it was better dark for just
a moment, just a second, just until he could stop the way his head was
thumping. The way his stomach wouldn't mind at all if he wanted to be very
un-divine and throw up. He only realised he was shaking when the doors
started to judder just slightly and he didn't know what to do about that.

Until a very warm hand cradled the back of his neck and pulled him forward.
He all but collapsed against bare skin, face pressed into the arch of
Cupid's neck. The hand held him there and another arm wound all the way
around his waist until Cupid was more or less holding him up. Which was
probably a good thing, where were his feet anyway? Were they still there?

Cupid's head slipped down until his cheek was pressed against Erin's. Oh
that was warm, so warm, why was he shaking though? Why was Cupid making odd
little noises in the back of his throat, and then a great whine which
sounded horrible. Why was Cupid crying? It sounded very loud from where he
was pressed against him, very loud and sort of broken. He wanted to tell
Cupid to stop crying, just like he always did, stop crying because things
were never as fucked up as they looked. He wanted to, but he didn't seem to
have any breath left.

---

Oh Tartarus, Oh Tartarus, Cupid was only just managing to hold Erin up,
afraid if he relaxed his arms Erin would slide all the way to the floor.
Erin wasn't quite ready to stand up on his own though. All Cupid could do
was clutch the back of his neck and stare into his hair. He'd seen Erin cry
twice in his entire life, twice, but nothing like this. Zeus this came close
to sobbing.

"Erin?" He pressed his hand more firmly against the back of Erin's neck when
he didn't get a response.
//Erin we have to get out of here.// Before someone saw them somewhere they
really shouldn't be. He got reflected back off of Erin's mental walls but he
knew he'd been heard. He tightened his arms and flashed them away.

---

He didn't know if Erin even noticed when they reappeared in his room, though
now the only sound was breath that rattled against Cupid's throat. Very
carefully he tilted Erin's head up, pushed hair out of his face.
"Erin?" Crying made his eyes unnaturally bright, strangely more ethereal
than divine.
"Erin?" He tried again, stroked a hand carefully down his face, though the
way the long eyelashes lowered slowly and the way long fingers wrapped round
his arms and pulled Erin back against him said there wouldn't be any talking
yet. Cupid accepted that, he had practice not talking, so all he could do
was lean up enough to rest his chin in Erin's hair, and quietly panic.

He hadn't thought it was a good idea, not only that, it was against Hera's
orders but Erin had wanted to and that was fast becoming enough of a reason
to, if not move mountains, at least give them a considerable push. He'd been
willing to go in with him, not that it would have been high on his list of
things to do, but he'd been willing. That was the sort of thing people
wanted to do on their own, but really shouldn't.

It felt odd standing here like this, so he pulled a little until Erin sank
onto the bed next to him, still half curled against him. Erin was completely
silent now but he still wasn't volunteering anything and Erin wasn't someone
who liked to be pushed. So he just sat there and held him.

He'd been involved in his own private little nightmare outside the doors for
what felt like at least an hour but which he knew was exactly eleven minutes
and thirty six seconds, because you couldn't help being a God after all. So
now he was in the dark, left to cling to Erin after Zeus knew what had
happened, with no way to get inside his head. Did Erin even know he'd locked
himself up that tight?

What had happened? Had he seen her? Had he spoken to her? What had she done?
He didn't see anything, but with Erin you never did, bruises didn't even
appear anymore. It was a creepy thought that Cupid's body was still so
fragile when Erin's was almost fully invulnerable and yet they looked
exactly the same.

Erin sighed against his shoulder, a tired noise, which had nothing to do
with sleep but Cupid tilted enough that he could see Erin's eyes were
closed. He watched him for a long time.

Finally Cupid lifted an arm ran his hand through Erin's hair, fingers
straying to push excitable strands off of his forehead.
//I know you're awake.// Erin didn't open his eyes, but movement flickered
underneath the lids.
//I'm awake.// Erin admitted, but his mental voice creaked. Cupid slid down
until he could press his forehead against Erin's.
//Are you going to talk to me?// There was a long pause, Cupid watched his
face very carefully.
//In a little while,// Erin said quietly.

---

He hadn't lied, a little while later he did tell him, all of it, which Cupid
listened to in a combination of astonishment and pain. After that even Cupid
couldn't think of anything to say. When your parents died you were called an
orphan, what the Tartarus did you become when one of them wasn't even a face
and the other sliced you out of their life and just left the wound to bleed.
He couldn't comprehend that, it wasn't part of his Godhood.

Erin was left sitting on the end of the bed, long legs dangling off the
edge, just staring off into nothing, as composed as he ever was. Cupid felt
useless, he felt like he just do something but more or less just sat there
looking at Erin's back. He was struck with the strangest notion that if Erin
ever did have a statue made, it wouldn't ever do him justice. Erin let out
a funny little laugh.
"What?" Erin peered over his shoulder.
"When you think about me hard enough I can hear you y'know." Cupid shrugged.
"It's not like I ever think anything bad about you." Erin pulled a very
strange face.
"No you don't."

//Why so disbelieving?// Erin shrugged.
//Why do you-// A mental pause but Cupid caught more threads than he'd like,
enough for him to shuffle down the bed and lay his head on Erin's shoulder.
//This works both ways you know, you're thinking about me quite hard and
they're not you know.//
//Not what?// Cupid shifted his head until he could lean it against Erin's
cheek.
//Everyone is not leaving you, I'm not, neither is Ares, or my Mom. Pep
loves you into tiny pieces, Phonos is being less creepy, which even you
admitted means he must like you. That's practically more people than in a
normal family anyways.// Erin made a noise which indicated that he wanted to
wallow in his own misery and stop trying to cheer him up already. Cupid
fought back with a noise which he hoped meant something close to 'fuck that,
if you're determined to be miserable, then I'm miserable too.'

Erin laughed just a little, so maybe it had worked. Cupid shifted again
until he could sit behind Erin, flung an arm around his waist, palm resting
on the almost warmth of his stomach. Erin went quiet again, but it was a
good quiet, not tense, just tired and maybe a little confused.

"Did you ever wonder when you were little...or should that be when you were
small and stupid?" Erin offered, more of a mumble than a direct question,
almost uncertain
"Wonder what?" Erin pressed his head harder against Cupid's.
"Happy endings, all the stories had them y'know. The dragons got their heads
cut off, the princess's always got rescued, the Bacchae always end up in the
sun." Cupid nodded.
"Uh huh, the happy ending, the staple of every good children's story." Erin
lifted a hand and waved at him vaguely.
"Yeah right, see, children's stories. Children are the only ones who get
happy endings, Adults just get a shitload of comedies and tragedies." Cupid
made a noise which wasn't quite agreement or denial.

"What's with that? They fill us up when we're kids with this lie that
everything works out fine. That the good guys always win and life will all
turn out fine at the end of the story." Erin stopped.
"That's a heap of shit, you grow up and find out that there are no happy
endings cos every time you think you've got there, you haven't there's just
more shit." Cupid considered this.
"Maybe life is a whole bunch of little stories, or one that's so enormously
long that it takes your entire life to get to the end." Erin shifted his
head far enough to scowl at him.
"Hello, immortal!" Cupid lifted a hand and stretched it out until he found
Erin's, twined his own round it. Erin resisted briefly, then sighed and let
him.

"What you think Gods don't get stories too?" Which had sounded a little
better in his head.
"Well if we do we sure as hell don't get to be the heroes, we're what, plot
points, action scenes and comic relief."
"You've been hanging around the muses way too much!"
"I'm serious, what about the Bacchae in the sun and the dragon who gets it's
head cut off, they don't get a happy ending." Cupid frowned.
"But they were-"
"They were what?" Erin demanded. Cupid shut his mouth, because he knew what
he'd been about to say and so did Erin.

"It doesn't matter Erin, it's just...look maybe it's not the end of the
story. Maybe it's the beginning or the middle. You know I don't like Discord
and I'd be quite partial to nasty things happening to her but you two have
millennia, nothing can stay the same for millennia when personalities are
involved. If she tries to stay the same that's her loss." Cupid shifted
enough to kiss him on the cheek and then, because he didn't want to leave
just yet, he let his face rest there.

Because Erin was sort of his happy ending, of course there was no way he was
going to think that too loud.


//Cupe?//
//Hmm?// Erin took a long time to respond.
//No matter where my story goes, even if I end up burning up in the sun or
getting my head chopped off, promise you'll be in it.// Cupid kissed his
cheek again.
//I'll be in it.// Which wasn't the hardest promise to make, and just for a
second he wished Erin was just a little like him, because you never had to
ask 'do you love me?' when you could feel it anytime you wanted. That was
when he felt something very green twitch against his face and he knew he
wasn't the only one accessing his Godhood.
//So do you want to be the love interest or the comic relief?// Which really
did deserve the very explicit mental picture he sent of exactly where he
could stick that comment.

Erin sent an image that was no less explicit demonstrating just what he
thought of that suggestion. Which was actually more amusing than threatening
and definately deserved the mental equivilent of grabbing him in an
unexpected place until he could think like a gentlemen.



Title: Growing Up 39: Rings and Roses
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
Warning: Some dead people.
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 the Childhood series.
Summary: Guess who's in the Underworld. Guess who's in the Underworld.



"Look at this, Zeus look, I have...I dunno what the Tartarus this is? Do you
get dog poop down here, I mean Cerberus has to go somewhere right?" Pep
pulled off the offending shoe and shook it until the suspicious grey/brown
substance let go of the heel with a very unpleasant 'splooch'.
"You'd think Hades would just pick a place and make Cerberus go there, he
eats dead people right, this is poop made up of dead people, Gods I can't
believe I just said that, dead people poop!" She gave a little laugh and
grabbed hold of one of the stone pillars so she could wiggle her shoe back
on.

"Not that I've ever seen this fabled three headed dog, you'd think I would
have seen it, is it banned from Olympus too? I know Graegus got a bollocking
for chewing up a couple of Ares shields and wasn't allowed in the temple for
an entire year, but not once in sixteen years have I seen this dog that
probably gets more visitors than I do." Pep finally got the shoe on, only to
make a noise and lift her leg far enough to wipe it on one of the stone
monoliths.

Cupid glanced at Erin, Erin shrugged and shoved his hands into the closest
his pants had to pockets.
//Does Pep look nervous to you?// Cupid tilted his head.
//What makes you think that?// Erin just grinned.

She straightened and shoved the bits of her hair which had fallen out back
into their clasp.
"Why are we down here anyway, it's grey and flat and empty and about as
interesting as cheese." Here she paused and lifted an eyebrow.
"Except for that bit I forgot about that fell down behind the dresser. Three
more months and it would have built a sentient society." She shook her shoe
one last time and came over to join them again.

"Not even half as interesting as that cheese." Erin debated telling her
about some of the more interesting places in Tartarus because he was fairly
certain there were people Pep wouldn't mind having tied to a rock for all
eternity. That was the sort of thing she'd really enjoy.

"How much farther, I only have so much heel on my shoes, you didn't tell me
we'd be clambouring down a rock staircase." Pep slapped herself theatrically
on the forehead.
"I knew I should have worn my battle armour this morning." Cupid and Erin
shared another look, then grabbed an arm each and settled for dragging her
across the plain.

"Ow, hey, I was coming, I was coming already, will you not do that, hello!"
She shook them off and started walking on her own, though now she appeared
to be looking where she stepped.

"I didn't say I wanted to go back or anything but you could have warned me
they'd be rocks and greyness and poop, lets not forget the poop!" Erin
wasn't helping, because he was grinning at her, which he should know only
encouraged her.

They both flung arms out and snatched her to a stop, since she was so busy
looking where she was treading that she hadn't noticed the big ole river up
ahead. She blinked and Cupid waited for the expressions of awe, maybe a
little shiver of fear. He really should have known better by now.

"This is the Styx?"
"Uh huh." She surveyed it, looking an awful lot like she was weighing up
whether she should be impressed or not.
"Are there fish?"
"Probably dead fish," Erin muttered from beside her, Cupid shrugged since he
didn't have a clue.
"It just seems silly to have this huge river with no fish in it, is it
supposed to be that funny blue black colour?"
"Uh huh." Erin offered and gestured to the boat.

"Nifty." Pep admitted and wandered over to inspect it closer.
"Are these actually bones, oh someone left a boot in here," she leant down
and picked it up, peered close and then held it at arms length, then after
making a very small noise she tossed it in the Styx.
"Pep!" Because Cupid was fairly sure you weren't allowed to litter down
here. Erin was too busy laughing to come up with anything adult and lecture
like.
"I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to throw stuff in the Styx Pep."

Pep prodded the rest of the boat's interior.
"And I'm pretty sure that boot still had a foot in it, well most of a foot."
Erin brushed past her and jumped in the boat, though Cupid noticed he did
have a look around beforehand.
"Pep was still eyeing the inside." Cupid stepped in as well.
"I'm pretty sure there's no other feet in here Pep."

Pep scowled and made an angry noise, then awkwardly folded her skirts up,
growled in annoyance and tucked them into her underwear. Cupid saw the
problem and immediately held his arms up. Pep grabbed them gratefully and he
swung her into the boat.

"Thanks." She rearranged her skirts, then sat down, immediately peered over
the edge, Cupid had a feeling if anything was stupid enough to swim by Pep
would make a grab for it.

---

The main hall was empty, and Erin had shoved the doors open sharply enough
to wake inhabitants anyway. Hades really should get more furniture, maybe a
few rugs. It was creepy echoing all the way into the great hall. Pep made
ghost noises until Cupid prodded her, and then you couldn't hear the echo of
footsteps over the echo of Pep's laughter.

"Pep don't scare Cupid, he's a Necrophobe."
//Shut up Erin.// Which he ignored, because Cupid wouldn't panic as long as
dead people didn't try and drag him off, the chances of that happening
seemed slim.

"I don't think he's here." Erin pulled out a chair from the main table,
flopped into it. Pep eyed Erin carefully until absolutely sure he was
telling the truth, then squashed her hands together in front of her chest.
"Thank Zeus, I really wasn't looking forward to the moment of recognition.
Where he could point and laugh and remember me from where I crawled over his
feet and then shoved my hands into his lap," Pep collapsed in the chair next
to him.
"It really is a shame he's not here so I couldn't wallow in my own
embarrassment." Now it seemed safe Pep was looking around.

"You didn't have to come." Erin pointed out, Pep shrugged.
"I wanted to see the place, where are the servants, doesn't he get
servants?" Cupid wasn't going to point out that the only people around were
dead and they were pretty busy doing that and probably didn't have time to
fetch things. Erin shook his head.
"Nope pretty much Hades and Charon, cept when Than and Hermes are around."
Pep perked up at the mention of Hermes.
"You think Hermes will show up?" Which received twin looks of amusement.
"Yes or no will be fine, you can mock me later, and in private." Erin
shrugged.
"Depends if anyone important dies." Pep groaned.
"That's probably not gonna happen, coincidences hate me."

"Y'know it's really not nice to wish someone dead just so you can drool."
Pep scowled at Cupid.
"I wasn't wishing anyone dead, and I wouldn't have drooled."

"I'm sure you wouldn't have drooled all over him...You do know he's got a
thing going with Hecate don't you?" Pep blinked.
"Yeah, I knew that." She flopped even lower and glared at the table.
"Of course I wouldn't even attempt to compete with her anyway, not when
she's got her maiden face on, she's practically porn personified." She made
a rude noise on her own arm.

"It's not like I'm ever going to do anything important at best I'm going to
be some long shot Goddess that Mom will marry off to whoever offers her the
best deal." She flopped onto the table.
"She wouldn't do that!" Pep scowled out from under her elbow, but Erin
didn't offer a comment. Cupid looked at both of them.
"Oh come on that's horrible." Erin shrugged, Pep scowled and reburied her
head.
"That's stupid." Erin raised an eyebrow.

"Have you actually met Demeter?" Cupid shook his head.
"No." Cupid shrugged and pulled out a chair on the other side of the table.
"We don't really have anything in common, I'm not gonna work with her or
anything, I mean sure I've seen her and everything but I've never spoken to
her." Erin swivelled until he could put his feet up.

"Trust me, revel in that, she's come round to yell at Ares a few times and I
have to admit, that's the first time anyone's ever looked at me like I was a
crawly little bug." Pep snorted an 'I told you so' into her arm.

"She never seemed...evil." To which Erin sniggered.
"Well ok maybe not evil, she smiled at least." Cupid paused.
"At least I think she did, she might have, she could have been gritting her
teeth at me I suppose."
"More like making sure her lipstick didn't smudge!" Pep grumbled, slumped
further in her chair.

"Well ok I know Mom sometimes smiles at people she doesn't like just to be
nice." Cupid offered. Erin grunted, Cupid was pretty sure Discord had never
smiled at anyone in her life.
"Ok I think I might have even done it once. But that doesn't mean-" Cupid
stopped and looked around, Erin followed his line of sight.
"Umm, where's Pep?"

---

Pep had found a crown in one of the inner rooms. It was silver and bronze,
woven together to form spires which looked almost like teeth, but there was
no mistaking that it was actually a crown. It was regal and it was on a tall
pedestal. She'd never seen a real crown, well except Poseidon's but he never
took his off, so it wasn't the same. Even scary Gods got to have crowns. She
prodded it ever so gently with a finger, half expected something to happen.
Maybe a few lightening bolts to frazzle her, a guard dog, a cage, there was
just silence and the very faint sound of her fingertip stroking metal.

She eyed the crown, and her hand fluttered, the pull of it was still
fighting with who exactly it belonged to. In the end she scowled and left it
where it was. Wandered off to see what else the inner rooms had to offer.

Boring, boring, armoury, room full of scrolls, ooh bedroom. She opened the
doors and peered inside. Ok whoever owned this she wanted one just like it.
It was huge, enormously huge, and linen should not come in shades like this.
She couldn't decide whether it looked like a giant Bacchae porn palace or
something Hecate would knock up for weekends to slaughter people in, and the
bed was just...

The bed wasn't empty.

Pep blinked, she'd never seen a man asleep before, Cupid and Erin didn't
count because they were smaller and she knew them. This guy was...bigger and
definitely older. She stood on tiptoe, worked her way up the sleeping guy,
wondering hopefully if she was actually going to get a look at Morpheus, he
lived down here somewhere right?

She got all the way to his face before she managed to have a metaphysical
heart attack. Oh shit, because she knew that face, she'd seen it once until
a table, only it had been less asleep and definitely wearing a shirt.

She came down off of her toes with a sharp clack, then froze, but a little
too slowly because Mr Asleep was quite quickly not. The eyes rolled, fixed
on her, widened.
"Hn." Was about all she could manage, while higher parts of her brain were
torn between yelling that he wasn't supposed to be here and 'run away, run
away very fast.' Her mouth was stuck somewhere between the two.

She really probably shouldn't be staring, but her head was turned this way
anyway and he hadn't seemed to notice that he wasn't really wearing much yet
and her neck was trying to do it's tortoise impression anyway so moving it
was pretty much impossible and yes she was still staring like some stupid
bug eyed thing. Mind you he was staring too, though she was probably
winning.

"I didn't touch it, I just looked at it, it was there and I didn't touch it
though." 'Shut up mouth, shut up now, if you ramble I'll sow you up and
never let you speak again!'
"I didn't, I got lost, I didn't mean to end up in here, I didn't know anyone
was naked in here-er sleeping in here, I thought you were a boy, so I
looked." His eyes did widen then and tilted somewhere down the sheet. Pep
went a horribly awful shade of red.

"No, No I didn't look, look! I mean I didn't touch anything, nothing, out
there or in here-"

"Who are you?" That was probably a good question as questions went. He even
sounded sort of sleepy and this was bad, this was one of those moments where
you know perfectly well you should introduce yourself, apologise profusely
and back out with dignity. Pep had a moment of frantic thought. None of
which was very helpful so she grabbed as much of her skirts as she could and
legged it out of the doors.

---

"Where did she get to? It's Asphodel, it's not like she could get lost
anywhere." Erin shrugged but Cupid could see quite clearly that his eyes
were scanning the distance.

"She might have gone off to be alone or something." Erin pointed out.
"She didn't look too happy." Then it was quite clear that Cupid was worried
about her off crying somewhere, and was wondering if he had a hanky on him
and whether or if she was ok when there was the possibility of dead people
shuffling around.

Which was about the point that the Hades appeared at the head of the table
and Cupid very nearly flew out of his seat he flapped so hard.
"Cupid, Erin." Erin stared, looked at Cupid, then stared some more.
"I thought you were out today?" Hades shook his head.
"No I was asleep there was..." He shook his head and started again.

"Did you see a girl, rather flustered, lots of hair, quite loud, about yay
high." Hades held his hand out at chest level. Cupid looked at Erin, Erin
looked straight back at him, then so casually it could have been rehearsed,
they both shook their heads.



Title: Growing Up 40: Onwards and Upwards
Author: Corona
Rating: PG-15
Archive: Yes, want, ask, take, have.
Pairing: C/S
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, sequel to the Childhood series.
Summary: Cupid, Erin and Pep prove that good things shouldn't ever change.


"Help me both of you or I'll hurt you in horrible sharp ways!" Pep stood in
the doorway to Cupid's bedroom with an armful of material and a very
frustrated look on her face, her only free hand was clinging to a box which
appeared to have been shut by divine will alone, judging by the sheer volume
of stuff trying to escape.

She stomped into the room and shoved the doors shut with an out-flung foot.
"She's not getting her hands on me, for once in my entire life I'm going to
dress myself for an official function, I'm going to wear whatever the hell I
like and no one is going to tell me otherwise. I'm doing myself and I'm
wearing a corset and there will be no flowers in my hair by Zeus!" She
stopped, breathed for a moment.

"Hi Guys!" Erin looked at her, then looked at Cupid.
"And we're helping why? I thought girls took hours to get dressed? You do
know it's only oooh an hour away." Pep gave him a look which clearly said
'that's why I'm panicking moron'. Pep took one step and flung everything
onto Cupid's bed, well partly onto Cupid as well, since he was sitting on it
anyway.
"Sorry." She pulled a dress off of his head and stuffed it with the others.
"You're helping because..." She pulled a face.
"You just are, since Cupid knows what looks pretty and Erin...well Erin can
offer helpful comments." Erin raised an eyebrow.
"I don't know what looks pretty?" He thought about that for a minute. Pep
was looking at him pointedly, he waved her own.

"You have to help me, I'm not going to screw this up! I will squeeze myself
into the tiniest dress I own and a corset and my hair is going up and I'm
going to look my age for a change. I'm going to impress the hell out of
everyone." She stood still for a moment, almost trembling with resolve.

Finally she slumped just a little,
"I'm just not entirely sure I can do it on my own." She stalked forward and
sat on the mound of clothes she'd dumped.
"Now I know you're guys and everything and I'm not expecting any deep
meaningful bonding around my wardrobe but you're the only people I trust to
look at me and tell me to my face that I look like a cupcake with arms." She
raised her head and Erin had to admit she looked sufficiently defiant.

Cupid shoved purple fabric off of his legs and swivelled.
"Pep it's not a big thing it's just an official party, they get held every
year." Pep was already twisting the catch on the box she'd brought in,
narrowly avoided a spray of jewellery to the face.
"Not this one, this is a going out thing for me, this is special, this is me
escaping my mother and you two finally showing up in public together and me
looking amazing and you looking amazing and everyone gasping in such abject
and total jealousy they can't stand it!" She tore the lid off of the box and
stood there glaring at it, before sniffing loudly.

Cupid looked at Erin, who was watching Pep with something suspiciously like
pride. Cupid stood upright and righted the box in Pep's hands. She looked at
him, sighed and shrugged. Cupid leant in far enough to hug her, which she
quite clearly was pretending to squirm out of.
"I'm ok, I'm ok." Erin stepped forward and Pep eyed him.

"Madam we are your slaves." Pep smirked at him. Cupid managed a very nice
bow of his own.
"Definitely, show us your wondrous fabrics so that we might offer expert
opinions." Pep glared at them both.
"Over the top, way over the top...but thank you." She spun around.
"Right there's some stuff, I was looking at, that I picked out, little bits
anyway, I haven't picked a dress yet and I'm still funny about shoes, but
hey if I run out Cupid has loads!" Erin sniggered and Cupid looked very
pointedly at his wardrobe, then back at the girl grinning amongst purple
silk.

"So what are you two wearing?" Cupid shrugged.
"Pants, boots." Erin nodded.
"Yep, pretty much whatever's hanging around." Pep scowled.
"That's no good! I'm making an effort, I want you shiny, you can do shiny
can't you?"

Cupid and Erin eyed each other in a fear that wasn't entirely pretend. Pep
waved a hand.
"Oh don't worry we'll sort you out later, boys are easy." Erin didn't think
Cupid's shoes would agree.
//Will you shut up about the shoes.// Erin grinned and tilted the mirror
until it was low enough that Pep could see herself.

"I know this thing is just a party, it's run of the mill and everything I
know, but I want to get this right!"
"Well it may not be entirely run of the mill." Erin offered. Pep shoved him
out of the way and stepped on a pair of her own shoes.
"Why? Who's coming? You said Hades wouldn't come, you said he was staying in
Asphodel." Pep dropped a handful of diamonds that could buy Greece and
looked horribly panicked. Erin had to admire the sheer frantic-ness of her.
Cupid looked interested though, which was always a plus.

Erin figured now would be a perfect time to tell them both.
"I think Bacchus is going to propose." Cupid's eyebrows did a little dance
which was just too cute. Even Pep stopped rearranging her armful of clothes.
Made a very interested noise through her nose.
"Is that a good idea?" Erin shrugged.
"Probably not, but the fact that he's going to says something doesn't it."
Cupid nodded.

"Yes it says 'I'm fully prepared for what Phonos will do to me if I voice
that suggestion in public.'" Erin snorted.
"That was a pretty good Bacchus voice." Cupid gripped Erin's waist and
squeezed, then bent in far enough to kiss his jaw. Erin laughed, and Pep
mumbled something around her dresses.
"Next thing you know they'll be having kids, little red kids with horns and
long black hair!" Cupid shook his head, though Pep did make an interesting
noise and looked up from two identical necklaces.
"That would be kind of neat." Erin eyed her carefully, Pep may require
watching in the near future.
"Phonos will probably carry them so they won't be red." Erin frowned and Pep
shrugged and went back to studying her classical jewellery selection.

"I cannot for the life of me imagine Phonos pregnant, he doesn't have enough
body to put a baby in." Cupid frowned and it was pretty clear that he was
imagining that.
"I don't think he'd like it much."
"Are you kidding, he'd be pissed, he'd make my life miserable. Practical
parenting with Murder, Oh man that's twisted." Cupid scowled.
"It's not twisted, just...unexpected." Erin laughed some more. Until he got
elbowed out of the way by Pep, who gave them both a little shove until they
bounced on the end of Cupid's bed.

"Ok you're helping now." She threw a pile of dresses onto Cupid's table and
put her hands on her hips.
"Now be honest ok?" Cupid and Erin shrugged, then both nodded
enthusiastically. She rifled through her considerable pile and pulled out a
dress.

"Red?" Pep held up the dress, tucked it under her chin, Cupid and Erin
cringed.
"Not to worry you but that's a little..."
"It'll make you look like a Bacchae on the prowl." Erin provided. Pep
snarled and dropped it, replaced it with something in a shade of orange that
even the God of Orange wouldn't wear, if he existed.
"I could squeeze you and make juice." Erin as always got straight to the
point. Pep threw it away and snatched up the next one, a rather lovely shade
of Violet, Cupid quiet liked that.
"That's nice." Erin peered closer.
"But not special." Cupid flicked his head round, Erin shrugged.

"She said she wanted special." Pep dropped the dress, stuck a dark shade of
blue under her throat, the colour was admittedly nice, but the frilly bits
just rendered the whole thing a world of no. They both pulled faces and
shook their heads. Another dress went onto the pile. Pep made a hopeful
noise and stuck another dress in it's place.

It was green, very dark green, like wet leaves, and it definitely had corset
space, and bones and it was the sort of dress Cupid wouldn't put his own
daughter in until she was at least a hundred and fifty. Erin whistled.

Pep's eyebrows rose and she swivelled until she could see herself in the
long mirror.
"You think?"
"Er," Cupid offered.
"Definitely special." Which Pep was far more interested in. She patted the
fabric, shuffled it into several interesting places, until Cupid and Erin
made noises.
"Oh shut up, I've seen you naked you can watch me jiggle my boobs for Zeus
sake!" Erin snorted and Pep ignored him.
"Do you think I'll...fit?" And it was pretty clear in what sense she meant.

Cupid, not having any great world of knowledge in that area shrugged. Erin
who just had to consider everything surveyed the dress.
"Maybe, depends how tight you wanna pull the corset laces." Pep squished the
dress against her a little harder.
"I'm not breathing unless absolutely necessary." She rearranged the dress
some more, then frowned at herself.
"Are you allowed to wear green shoes with a green dress?"
"Black"
"White" Since both colour preferences were offered at the same time Pep
scowled.
"Pick one!"

Cupid was still leaning towards white and Erin could see it.
"White." He offered, when in doubt trust the God of Shoes.
//I heard that.// Erin laughed.
"Well you are."

"Ok white shoes, fine, make up your damn minds already." Pep grabbed several
pieces of jewellery, then eyed the tiny bag shoved inside the box, her hand
wavered and then with a very determined noise she snatched it up.
"Ok I'm changing in your bathroom, you're changing out here, since you have
boy bits and I have girl bits." She slapped herself on the forehead, "Forget
I said that!" She went for the bathroom, then growled, stalked back and
grabbed the dress.
"Just change, change like the wind." She disappeared into the bathroom. She
managed a good three second before the door was flung open again.

"Shiny!" The door slammed.

Erin sat on the bed and quietly dissolved into hysterics, Cupid wasn't being
much help.
"I don't think I own anything shiny? Exactly how shiny is shiny anyway, Mom
has that starry dress but I think she'd be pissed if I borrowed it." Erin
made a noise.
"Do you think she'd be pissed if she came out and we were both wearing
dresses?" Cupid smirked and eyed the bathroom door.
"In the state she's in I don't think that would be a good idea."

Cupid pulled open his own wardrobe door and peered inside. Erin settled his
chin on his shoulder and had a look as well.
"Nothing's leaping out and demanding to be worn." He looked over his
shoulder.
"Erin...Erin?" Erin edged him to one side and levered two pairs of pants
apart, grabbed what was hiding between them and shoved it at Cupid.
"Wear them." Cupid eyed the white leather pants in curiosity.
"I don't like my official pants."
"Wear them!" Erin growled, Cupid felt a smirk appearing and stifled it.
"I'm guessing you like the pants?" Erin grinned at him.

"Fine, fine, but you're wearing the ones that lace down the side." Erin
blinked.
"I can't wear underwear with them!"
//Wear the damn pants Erin, you heard your boyfriend!// They both glared at
the bathroom door.
"And the red shirt, the one that's just a little too short." Erin frowned.
"How come you get to dress me?" Cupid shook his pants.
"You dressed me." Erin scowled, Cupid pointedly unlaced his pants. Erin
stared, then sighed and snapped his fingers, fabric now occupied his lap.

Cupid squeezed himself into his official pants and eyed his reflection
nervously. Hmm, ok not quite as bad as he'd first thought, the boots were
black so he was in no danger of blinding anyone. There was swearing and
angry fabric noises behind him.

"Aren't you don-" Cupid blinked, then abruptly cleared his throat. Yep Erin
was done. They eyed each other, then each came to a decision and bumped each
other in the middle of the room. Erin laid his hands quite possessively on
the white pants, while Cupid investigated the very enticing slice of hipbone
that Erin was exposing. Then because it seemed like a good thing to do Erin
leant his head forward and kissed him.

Cupid pulled back when something thumped in the bathroom.
"Party." He reminded, Erin lifted an eyebrow.
"Or we could just go have sex in your wardrobe?" Cupid cleared his throat,
then said very clearly.
"Erin if you give me an erection in these pants everyone is going to
notice." Erin's face admitted that would be bad.

The bathroom door clicked open, and they turned to meet Pep's approval,
paused.

They were faced with a very nervous girl, in a very beautiful dress.

//Cupid?//
//Uh huh//
//Is it just me or...//
//It's not just you, she really does look like that.//

Pep played with the fabric of the dress, she'd put her hair up, then let the
majority of it spray around her head like a crown. The hair brushed the
earrings, which in turn, brushed the necklace, which swayed against the top
of the dress in a way that not only invited but demanded attention, on pain
of something horrible.

"Er..." She went quiet again.

//Shall we tell her she looks amazing?// Cupid debated this.
//That would probably help, if I looked like that I'd definitely want to be
told.//
//Yeah? Well I'd start off by saying Cupe nice cleavage.// Cupid grinned.
//So what shall we go for, Gorgeous? Enchanting? Amazing?// Erin grinned
into his head.
//All of them should do...I'm letting her listen in.// Cupid caught Pep's
eyes, she did indeed look a little startled and come to think of it, her
eyes were pretty startling all on their own, she'd done something to them.

"Er, thanks." Pep shuffled, swallowed.
"Well you two will probably do, too much shininess can't be a good thing
after all." By mutual assent Cupid and Erin each cocked an arm. Pep actually
blushed, then shook her head.
"My Mom will kill you guys if I go in with you." The arms didn't drop, Pep
blinked.
"Don't you dare make me cry just when I got it right." Cupid and Erin both
took a step backwards and wrapped her arms pointedly through theirs. Erin
opened the doors with a wave of his hand.

"Against all three of us, she doesn't stand a chance."

End.


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