saga/title/fandom: Love and Mischief Saga: Diety By Day chapter 5 (Hercules/Xena)

author: Scribe

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

(31) May 2

"Ares, are you sure about this?" asked Joxer.

"Yeah, I'm sure," said Ares. "We're going to have to introduce them some time or other, and I think now is as good a time as any."

"If you're sure."

"Are YOU sure?" Joxer was silent. He was sitting on the bed, holding Accord, and now he stroked the baby's head thoughtfully. "We can wait a little while longer if you aren't. Frankly, I've been waiting for you to ask after him. I know you've been busy," Ares reached down and tickled the baby under the chin, "And I know how absorbing this little guy is, but I was surprised that you didn't mention him right afterr you came home."

Joxer looked down. "You were afraid of what I'd say, weren't you?"

"If I didn't ask, you couldn't say no."

Ares touched his shoulder. "Joxer, I know that this is important to you, and I'm not going to make a unilateral declaration--not without seeing how the situation works out. I'll be back in a minute."

Ares left the room. Joxer cuddled Accord. "You're going to meet someone new today--someone different from anyone you've ever met before. I sure do hope you two get along good, because he's really a part of this household. He HAS been, and I hope he still can be. You two have a lot in common, you know. Your Daddy gave him to me. Not the same way he gave YOU to me, but we won't need to go into that for ten or twelve years." He nuzzled Accord. "You sort of have the same hair, too."

"MEER!"

Joxer looked up as Ares entered the room, carrying a small black cat--a small, SQUIRMING black cat. Ares set it down quickly, and the cat made a bee-line for Joxer. It leaped up onto the bed, braced its front paws on his leg, glared up into his face, and started scolding him lustily. "Hi, Mjau. I missed you, too."

(32) May 3

Strife was sprawled on a small sofa in Joxer and Ares' living quarters. Joxer was sitting in a comfortable chair, and Accord was in a small cradle at his feet. Every time the baby murmured, or shifted, Joxer would give the cradle a few slow, gentle rocks, and he'd settle down again. Joxer smiled at Strife and said, "Cupid keeping you too tired to sit upright?"

Strife cackled, and shifted over onto his side. "Not like he ain't tryin. But I just figured that I oughta enjoy this as much as possible, since in a few month's gettin up an' down from a prone position is gonna get kinda tricky."

"Tell me about it." Mjau sauntered into the room, and Joxer called, "Here, kitty."

Mjau ignored him completely. He went to the sofa and levitated, settling on Strife's hip, and starting to work his claws on the leather. "Hey!" said Strife. "Ya got some nerve, cat." Mjau gave him a disdainful look and continued. "No respect. Ya hit skin, ya learn how ta fly. Jox, ya got snubbed."

Joxer sighed. "Yeah. He's pissed with me because we were separated for over a month. Man, you should have heard him tell me off when Ares brought him back yesterday. Since that, he's been ignoring me."

Strife picked up the cat, holding it under its front legs, and dangled it. "Ya snot! Joxie has been good ta yer fuzzy ass. I'm pretty damn sure he didn't pitch ya out inta tha cold when he had tha baby." He glanced at Joxer. "Bein that cats are my critters, I know how hard it is ta keep 'em outta any room in tha house if they want in, so ya hadda board him somewhere."

Joxer nodded. "Ares took him to Scribe." He smiled. "I sent her a thank you note, and she wrote back something like with the horde she had, what difference did one more make?"

"meeyour"

"Ah, shaddup, ya ungrateful beast." He put the cat on the floor. "Make up with Joxie quick, or I'll see to it that every catnip toy ya have gets mold." Mjau lashed his tail and stalked out of the room. "I tried."

"Don't worry--he'll come around." Joxer sighed. "I hope."

(33) May 4

Joxer finished changing Accord's diaper. "Are you feeling good, punkin? This one hardly stinks at all."

"coo"

"If you say so." He made the messy diaper disappear. "How about I get some of that nice powder Dite sent you? I thought it was very nice of her to take some of the scent out, once Ares remarked that it smelled like a Cyprian whor--"

"coo"

"Um, house of ill repute." He placed a pillow close on either side of the baby. "Don't move." Joxer went over to a cabinet on the other side of the room and took upa small jar, one that had a pierced lid. He turned back, and froze.

Mjau was standing on one of the pillows, staring down at the baby. "Oh, Hades," Joxer whispered. He didn't really think that Mjau would intentionally hurt the baby, not without being provoked, but his instinct was to fly across the room and snatch the cat up, getting those sharp claws away from the baby's tender skin. But if he frightened Mjau, and the cat landed on Accord...

Accord must have noticed the cat. He waved his arms and made a questioning sound. Mjau's ears flicked back, and he looked puzzled. Accord chose that moment to get colic again. "WAH!" Mjau sort of leaned back on his haunches, ears going back even further, and fur fluffing. But it only fluffed to about half the capacity that Joxer knew he could manage. It was as if the cat was saying, "Yell at ME? Hey, I can be threatening, too?"

Then, much to Joxer's relief, the cat turned, jumped down, and trotted out of the room. Joxer let out the breath he'd been holding. He went over to the bed and picked up Accord. He sprinkled the soft, fragrant powder on the baby's chest and began to massage him gently. Accord was soothed quickly. Joxer said, "Well, that wasn't all I'd hoped for, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. I think that as long as you don't try to play tug of war with his tail, or teeth on him, you should do all right."

(34) May 5

"rowr"

Ares looked down at Mjau. "No. I fed you not three hours ago."

Mjau lashed his tail. "ROWR!"

"I said no. Damn, Scribe must have spoiled you rotten. I swear you've gained a pound since you went over there, and let's face it--that wouldn't be much on Joxer, but YOU haven't got anywhere for it to go."

"hiss"

"Hiss all you like. I'm not feeding you again--not yet. If you're so desperate for food, go ask Joxer. He's a soft touch."

"hissssss" Mjau turned, jerked his tail high to present his bottom, and stalked out, head down. Ares muttered, "You'll come around and make up with him, or I'll make a muff out of you, and it's just as well I waited till you left the room to say that. You'd laugh in my face, because you know damn good and well that I wouldn't do it, because it would upset Joxer. I'll send you to stay with Gaia. She'll make you hunt mice for a living instead of for sport."

(35) May 6

"Okay, Cord, nap time." Joxer settled the baby in his cradle. "I'm gonna be just down the hall, okay? I'll leave the door open. All you have to do is yell, and I'll come. Okay? Cord?" Joxer examined the baby, then whispered, "I didn't know you could blow spit bubbles in your sleep." He tiptoed out.

A few minutes later, Mjau slunk into the room and began to give it a thorough inspection. Before his exile, he'd spent a lot of his time in this room, but since he'd returned, he'd been avoiding it (the better to punish Joxer). Now he began to make a tour to see if anything had changed. It was much the same, except that there were a few new objects, and some new, and interesting, smells.

He found one of Joxer's tunics under the bed and investigated it closely. It was ripe with the familiar, comforting Joxer-scent, but there was something different, too. There was a distinctly milky scent in one area. Mjau sniffed, then licked experimentally. Well, that was odd. It was definitely milky-ish, but it wasn't quite cow or goat's milk. He tried to get a better taste, licking, then chewing the fabric, but there wasn't really enough there to get a good sample, so he abandoned it.

The milky scent was still in the room, though, and he followed it to one of the new objects. It looked like a box, balanced on two wooden curves. Mjau liked boxes--they made excellent hiding places. He stood on his hind legs, bracing his front legs against the side, trying to peer over the edge. The box tilted a little toward him, and he managed to peer over the top.

There was a little creature not much bigger than he lying in it. It must be the creature's nest, Mjau decided. Mjau sniffed. Yes, this was where the milk smell was coming from. Since this thing didn't seem to have any equipment for giving milk, it must have drunk some. "sniff" It smelled like Joxer--a lot. And a little like Ares, too. Had they gotten a new pet and not told him? Maybe he ought to be offended.

The baby opened his eyes to find a bright gold eyes in a dark face peering at him. Accord was in a good mood. He was rested, dry, not hungry, and his tummy didn't hurt. He decided to be charming. "coo" Mjau's ears flicked back. What on earth?

"coo"

"Prrup?"

"coo"

"murr?"

"gurgle"

"prrrowr?"

"aaaah"

Well, whatever it was, it seemed to be friendly. Mjau looked closer. And it didn't have any teeth, and it's claws were pitifully short and blunt. This wasn't any threat at all. "sniff" It smelled good, too--and it had a nice, cozy looking nest...

Joxer didn't have a heart attack when he found Mjau in the cradle with Accord, but he was glad that HE found them, and not Ares. Mjau was curled up next to the baby, his back nestled firmly against Accord's side, and Accord was sleeping as if Morpheus had chosen him for special attention. Joxer's laughter woke up Mjau, who immediately leaped out of the cradle and ran from the room, still not ready to make up.

Joxer couldn't help it--Mjau had been purring in almost exact counterpoint to Accord's tiny snores.


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