saga/title/fandom: Love and Mischief Saga: Diety By Day chapter 4 (Hercules/Xena)
rating/genre:(PG-13 (for now)) - Comedy/Romance/Drama
warnings: slash, sexual content, language, male pregnancy
summary: Accord's day of birth, and the family is resting, and bonding. Sequel to Seeking Balance, in the Love and Mischief Series. An offshoot of the Love and Mischief Series. (Ares/Joxer)
comments/disclaimers: All recognizable media characters were created by, and belong to the television company that produced them (I THINK it's Rennaissance). Original characters (Accord, Impetua, and possibly others) are the copyrighted property of the author. Archive? Yes. Begins immediately after the end of Seeking Balance, on the day of Accord's birth. It will consist of a section for each day of his first year. Warning: AU. Anachronisms ahead. This is for Nanowrimo 2004 and will consist of 365 (at least) drabbles, snippets, and vignettes, chronicleing the first year in the life of Accord, son of Joxer and Ares, God of Mediation. http://www.angelfire.com/grrl/scribescribbles and http://www.angelfire.com/grrl/foxluver
*wah* *wah* *wah* *wah* *wah* *wah* *waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah*
"He just can't settle down," said Joxer.
"Is it colic?" asked Ares.
"Oh, probably not. I talked with Ace about that before I had him--I wanted to be ready for everything. Ace says that it's not colic unless they cry for more than three hours a day for three or four days a week. It's not nearly that bad. See? He's quieted down. I'll just put him in the cradle..."
"How long has he been crying this time, Joxer?"
Joxer was bouncing the whimpering baby against his shoulder. He sighed. "I don't know. He started a little after you left for that meeting."
"But I've been gone for almost six hours."
"Is that all? Seemed longer."
*patpatrub* *waaah* *patpatrub* *waaah* *patpatrub* *waaah*
"C'mon, baby. You'll feel better if you just get rid of that nasty old air bubble," Joxer coaxed.
"Are you sure that's what he wants?" asked Ares
*waaaah* *patpatrub* "Well, I've changed his diaper and fed him, but he hasn't burped. This couldn't hurt." *patpatrub* *waaah* "It doesn't seem to be helping much, eith..." *brrup* "There you go, Cord! One more for Daddy." *rubrubrub* *brrrrrrrrrup*
Ares laughed. "Oh, that was a good one! Yeah, his belly had to hurt with all that gas..."
*wah!* *hic* *wah!* *hic* *wah!* *hic* *WAH!*
"Cord, I'm SORRY! I just don't know what to do, since you can't drink water yet!"
*wah* *wah* *wah* *wah* *wah* *wah*
"Give him to me."
"No, I can do this. I'll have to switch arms, because this one is going to sleep."
"You're right. I just can't do this."
Ares took the baby. "Stop it. You've done a heroic job so far, Joxer, but you're exhausted, and you're a GOD, for Tartarus sake! No one--NO ONE--could do a better job of taking care of Accord, but I'm your husband, and you don't HAVE to do it all alone." He held the baby in the crook of one arm and put the other around Joxer's slumped shoulder. "This isn't a burden for me, love. I WANT to take care of our baby--and you. Give yourself a break." He kissed Joxer gently. "Go take a nap."
"I'm going to try something different," said Joxer.
Ares was taking his turn trying to comfort a fussy Accord. He hadn't been having any more success than Joxer did. For the last few days, Accord was only quiet when he was latched onto the breast, or had fallen asleep--and there didn't seem to be NEARLY enough time of either. "What's that?"
"His belly button has healed up enough now. Instead of wiping him down, I'm going to actually give him a bath. Maybe the warm water will make him feel better. I know that it usually works wonders for me, not that I've been able to take the time to soak in a hot bath recently."
"I told you I'd watch him."
"The last two times I tried he wanted to be fed. I've just resigned myself to nothing but sketchy baths for another month or so. Let me get the stuff. I'll be right back."
Joxer left the room. Ares lifted the baby off his shoulder, and looked at him. "I love you, but you're wearing your daddy out, and this is a man who pretty much used to walk all over Greece for a living." Joxer returned, carefully balancing a basin of water, with cloths draped over his arm. He set the basin on the table, then dipped his elbow in the water. "What the Tartarus are you doing?"
"I'm testing to make sure the water is the right temperature--not too cold, and not too hot?"
"With your elbow? That's kind of like... I don't know... Applauding with the backs of your hands."
"It's something about the skin on your hands can be toughened up by all it's use, so you might misjudge the temperature, but how often do you use the skin on your elbow?"
"That sounds like something Strife would come up with."
"It does, doesn't it? But actually it was Apollo who told me." Joxer took a deep breath. "Okay, let's try this." He held out his arms. "Give."
Ares handed over the fussy baby. Accord squirmed, his wailing increasing as Joxer stripped him. "Cord, please don't wiggle so much," Joxer begged. "I don't really think I'll drop you, but I still haven't quite gotten rid of that 'gods-you're-an-idiot' voice in the back of my head." Accord was not impressed by the request. His thin voice rose, still-blue eyes squinting to slits, tiny mouth opening wide to show smooth baby gums as he voiced his displeasure with the world.
Joxer lowered him carefully into the basin, supporting his back and head. The warm water lapped up around the baby's chest. Accord's rising wail suddenly cut off with a squeak. His eyes opened, and his legs jerked, arms trembling as he drew in a breath. Joxer and Ares both flinched, prepared for a shriek of outrage.
Joxer's eyes had been squinted almost shut in apprehension. Now he opened one cautiously, watching Accord. The baby smacked his lips, flexing his fingers.
"I don't believe it," Ares whispered.
"If it gets him to be quiet, I'm willing to believe that Zeus has gone celibate." Ares looked at him. "Okay, that was a bit extreme, but you know what I mean. Do me a favor and reach inside my shirt."
"Um, Jox? Shouldn't we wait till you're not holding the baby?"
"Why? Oh. Not that. Not that I wouldn't be INTERESTED in that, but... I put the soap in my shirt, because I didn't have enough hands."
"No, Joxer, I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job. It's just that it's been almost two months since any of your mortal worshippers have seen you, and... well, they get a little insecure. Especially if they're worshipping a new god. And being told that you're all right just isn't the same as SEEING you."
"That's all very logical. I still don't want to go."
"Yes, you do. You're just worried about leaving Accord."
"Whick is natural. But you're going to have to balance your parenthood with godhood. Now, he's full and clean. Dite is coming over at any minute. I think between the two of us we can manage."
"It's a couple of hours, Joxer--not forever."
"Maybe one hour. I think I could drop by the temple in Corinth. Xena and Gabrielle might be there. Give Daddy a kiss, Cord." Joxer rubbed his nose against the baby's cheek. *ah?* "Oooh..."
"No, you don't." Ares took Accord. "Go."
"Okay. The diapers..."
"Are where they've been for the last three weeks. Go."
Joxer kissed his cheek. "Yes, sir." He bent and whispered to Accord. "He's awful bossy, but we love him anyway." He flashed out in subdued wink of silver light.
Ares sighed, starting to rock him. Aphrodite appeared sitting on the couch beside him. "You mean you actually got Joxer out of the house?"
"Accord wasn't crying then. I slapped a block on the place the split second he flashed out, so he wouldn't hear, and come right back. I'll remove it in a few minutes, once he gets down to earth and gets involved in something. Accord, I just wish we could figure out what you wanted. You know we'd do anything for you, huh?"
"Let me take him for a minute." Ares handed the baby to Dite. "Shhh. Shhh." She hummed to the child. He didn't stop crying, but the whimpering died down. After a minute it was no more than an occasional fuss. When she saw Ares looking at her, she said, "Don't start feeling all inadequate. It's probably nothing more than novelty."
"Cupid wasn't like this, was he?"
"Not nearly, but all babies are different, Ar. I think that this might be partly boredom." When Ares looked skeptical she said, "Think about it. What can the kid DO right now? He eats, sleeps, poops, and cries. That's it, and it's got to get old real fast."
"For Joxer's sake, I hope Accord grows into being able to amuse himself quickly. Joxer was almost crying the other day, Dite. I love my son, but I love my husband, too, and I hate to see him upset."
"Part of it's the after baby blues. Joxer's doing real well. After Psyche had Bliss, she was impossible to live with for months." Ares started to open his mouth, and Dite said, "Don't say it."
"You're right--it would be too easy."
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