Author Topic: Peace  (Read 167 times)

Ayden

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Peace
« on: October 01, 2016, 07:16:10 PM »
[size=9]August 30th, 2013[/size]

War is hell. But you know what's worse than war? Being the God of War when your mortal wife goes into labor. Ares' sweet, gentle Ayden had turned into something of a harpy when she realized that her back pains were, in fact, labor pains, demanding everything from ice chips, to her deceased mother, to someone volunteering to possess her for the next ten hours or so. Thus far, they had managed relatively well, but as Ayden started to feel the need to push, any semblance of calm had quickly started to unravel. She'd certainly spent enough time around hunters, if the swearing was anything to go by.

This might be the first time Ayden had given birth, but Ares had fathered half a dozen or more children over the years. Even so, it had been a very long time since then, and he had never had the pleasure - or pain - of witnessing childbirth, nor did he really want to do so now. He wasn't sure what had happened to the world that it was commonplace for fathers to witness childbirth. He thought it was barbaric and really wanted nothing to do with it. This was women's business, just like that week of hell mortal women went through once a month when they turned into a harpy. Instead, he was pacing the floor outside the bedroom that was serving as a makeshift birthing room and wincing each time Ayden screamed and cussed. She was certainly far better at it than he had ever imagined her to be, using words that were less than ladylike and that he'd never heard come out of her mouth before today.

Hebe was in there with her. Ares' sister had answered the call straight away, only too happy to be his new son's midwife and safe in the knowledge that Ayden liked her in the first place. Of course, then Hera had shown up, and as Ares' mother, she couldn't really be denied the opportunity to be a part of the birth of her grandson. Judging by the voices in there, someone else had shown up too.

Eventually, Ayden managed to offer up a loud summons not even her husband could ignore. "Ares, if you don't get your ass in here right now, I will never speak to you again!"

Personally, Ares thought Ayden had quite enough help. Besides, with all the women in the room, it was bound to be a little too crowded for him, wasn't it? He scowled when he heard her summons, stopping dead in his tracks. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. Well, at least, now he understood the meaning of that human phrase. It had to be an empty threat. Aphrodite had once threatened to make him a eunuch if he didn't take turns helping with the children, and he still had his manhood intact. But then, Ayden wasn't Aphrodite. He sighed. Maybe if he just poked his nose in, it would appease her.

He gathered his courage and cleared his throat before pushing the door open to peek his head in. "Yes, dear?"

"Don't give me that."

And, to be fair, Ayden had good cause to be a little rattled. Not only was she crowning - which was clear to see from the doorway - but she was surrounded by Olympians. On one side of Ayden was Artemis, holding the clenched fist as she tried to speak calmly to the laboring mother; on the other side was Hera, wincing at the grip her son's wife had on her hand. At Ayden's feet was Hebe, and kneeling beside her, Hestia. Standing watch over the laboring mother was Demeter, and beside her, Mnemosyne, and across from them, holding a towel ready warmed for the child being born, was Aphrodite.

The look Ayden gave Ares was pointed, to say the least. "Will you talk to your family, darling?"

Ares looked from Ayden to the others gathered around her - all females, as it should be. He wasn't quite sure what Ayden wanted from him. His family had come to help her birth the child, as was their right and their custom. "What would you have me tell them?" he asked, turning back to Ayden and trying to keep his eyes on her face so that his gaze didn't wander to what was actually taking place there.

Even as he asked, another contraction gripped his wife, and she threw back her head, her face turning red with the exertion as she pushed as hard as she could, trying not to yell out in pain. Demeter rushed forward to bathe her face with cool water as Hebe took hold of the little head that came forth.

"Too ... many ... people!" Ayden managed to gasp out, shaking her head to try and avoid the fussing going on around her.

Technically, they weren't really people - they were immortals, but Ares didn't think this was the right time to point that out. His mouth dropped open, unable to avoid the sight of his son's head as Ayden struggled to bring him into the world. "Is that ..." He trailed off, already knowing the answer to that question. He turned a pleading gaze to Hera, hoping she would know what to do about Ayden's request. He wasn't sure if he should leave or stay, but some part of him was compelled to stay and witness this miracle that was taking place before him.

As a female who presided over the institution of family, however, Hera was not going to help him. She was far too interested in the sight of her grandchild - the first Olympian child born in millenia - to care much about the comfort of the mother. Of everyone there in that crowded room, however, there were some who took the hint.

Demeter backed off quickly, pulling Hestia to her feet. "All those who have never delivered a child before should leave," she suggested, looking pointedly around at the group of Olympians.

Mnemosyne pouted, but gave in, disappearing quickly enough. Hestia, too, though she obviously didn't want to go.

Aphrodite, however, rebelled. "Why should I go?" she demanded. "This is a child born of love, I have a right to be here!"

"I don't want you here," Ayden ground out from between clenched teeth.

Ares at last stepped into the room. If he couldn't support his wife in this, then he didn't deserve to have her. "You can bless our son later, 'Dite," he told her, turning that same pleading look on his former lover, now friend. He seemed to understand suddenly how Ayden must feel, surrounded by those who were practically strangers - one of whom was one of his former lovers, though their love affair had ended a very long time ago. He was glad at least Hebe was there; there was no one he trusted with Ayden's well-being more than her. "Please," he added, hoping Aphrodite would not hold it against them.
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 07:16:54 PM »
"Oh, come on, Ares," Aphrodite complained, tossing the towel onto the bed, where Artemis swept it up as the first wails of the newborn boy began to make themselves known. "This isn't fair."

"I am not asking you; I am telling you," he insisted, as gently but firmly as he could. Aphrodite could be a bit of a spoiled child at times, but she no longer had him wrapped around her finger the way she used to have. "The room is getting too crowded. I promise we will call upon you to visit soon." As soon as Ayden allowed it, anyway.

Glaring at him, Aphrodite gave in without much grace, not really given an option when Demeter took a firm hold on her arm. "Fine," she huffed. "But you'd better let me hold him."

Thankfully, Demeter pulled her away and out of earshot before Ayden's response made it to them. "Over my dead body."

"Shut up and push," Hebe told her in amusement. "Almost done."

"Ares," Artemis called to her half-brother. "Come over here and support your wife."

Ares frowned, not quite understanding Ayden's vehemence toward his former lover. It was Aphrodite who had saved Jo and brought her and Dean to this world. If nothing else, Ayden should be happy for that. "There is no reason to be jealous, Ayden. Aphrodite spurned me centuries ago," he pointed out, moving forward as Artemis bade him. He craned his neck to see what was going on with the birth, having heard the first strong wails of his son's birthing cry. "Is he well?" he asked anxiously, as he took hold of Ayden's hand.

"He's very well," Hebe promised him with a smile, taking the child into her arms as Artemis took charge of what came next, far more at home with childbirth than anyone else in the room. She had delivered her own twin brother, after all. Long story.

Hera smiled as Ayden's grip on her hand relaxed. "He has a fine voice," she complimented the parents, unsurprised when Ayden burst into tears.

The mortal girl twisted toward Ares, hiding her face against his chest as she sobbed against him, incoherent apologies babbling forth for her behavior, her bad language, even for the way she stole the covers on chilly nights.

Ares looked as perplexed by Ayden's emotional outburst as he'd been by her swearing and jealousy, but to his credit, he held her close, fingers gently stroking her hair. "It's all right, beloved. Our son is healthy and well," he assured her, unsure if she was overcome with emotion and relief or if she was truly upset. "There is nothing to apologize for," he assured her further. He turned a questioning glance to Artemis and shrugged, unsure why his wife was suddenly so emotional, unless it was simply weariness and relief. "Is-is everything all right? Are you well?" he asked, suddenly worried that maybe he'd missed something.

Artemis smiled reassuringly. "Women do that," she assured him. "It's hard work to give birth to a child, and it messes with your emotions. She'll be fine."

"Especially once she meets her son," Hebe added, moving to perch on the bed beside the new parents. In her arms was their newborn boy, wrapped up warm and ready to say hello to his family.

Hera's smile softened as she looked down on her first grandchild of the new cycle. "Artemis, we should go," she said. "They will be coming to Olympus soon. Our menfolk should know how they are expected to behave when that happens."

"Artemis ..." Ares interrupted before his sister could leave. "Will you speak to Aphrodite for me? I do not want there to be any animosity between her and my wife," he said, needing to make it clear to all the Olympians that he would not tolerate any of them interfering where his wife and son were concerned. It was only when he had her assurance that he turned his attention to that of their new son, gently lifting Ayden's chin so that she could look on her son for the first time. "He is a fine son, love. You have made me very proud and happy," he told her, smiling warmly. There was more he wished to say, but he'd wait until they were alone to say it.

Ayden raised her tear-stained face, still sniffling a little, and looked down at the cutest little face she had ever seen. "Oh ..." It was barely more than a breath, but that one syllable held more than any words could possibly express. "Can ... Can I hold him?"

Hebe's smile grew as she offered the little bundle over. "You never need to ask to hold your own son," she assured the girl, reaching over to squeeze Ares' hand. "I'll be ready," she promised her brother - ready with the ambrosia that would make Ayden one of them.

He nodded back at Hebe in acknowledgement and squeezed her hand in return. "Thank you," he told her - two little words that meant so much more. He wasn't just thanking her for today, but for everything - for never giving up on him, for staying loyal when everyone else had turned their backs on him. "We'll be there soon," he promised, though he thought it only fair that he and Ayden greet their newborn son in private first.

"You'd better be," Hebe warned him merrily. "Father doesn't like to be kept waiting to meet his grandchildren, you know that." It was one of Zeus' few graces, his love of the children that were born into his family, whether he liked their parents or not. She winked at her brother, stroked a gentle hand against Ayden's hair one last time, and blinked out of sight, leaving the new parents alone with their son.

Zeus liked them well enough, at least until they grew up and were children no more. Ares seemed to relax a little once they were alone, smiling as he looked on his wife and son, his heart swelling with pride and joy. "He is a fine son," he said again, seeing a little of himself and Ayden in the tiny face that gurgled up at them. Of all his children, he thought this one was most special to him, given that he'd been born of love to the only woman he'd ever taken as wife.

"He's so small," Ayden whispered, almost afraid to speak aloud in case she disturbed him. She felt tired, yes, but there was no soreness, no sense of the pain she had just endured to bring their son into the world. Artemis' skill with childbirth evidently included healing of a sort. "Our little Alexandros."

He smiled, too, at their choice of name - a name worthy of a king. She hadn't forgotten. "Alexandros, son of Ares and Ayden," he said quietly, reaching to let their son curl a fist about his father's forefinger. "He will grow into a fine man one day," he assured her. "Thank you, Ayden," he said suddenly, letting her at last see in his expression and tone of voice how much this meant to him. He touched a kiss to her brow, slowly breathing her in as he leaned his head against hers. "I am sorry for before," he told her, apologizing not only for Aphrodite, but for everything.
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2016, 07:17:34 PM »
Lifting her eyes to his, she smiled as he kissed her brow, her irritation gone in the face of her little family. "A little warning would have been nice," she told him. "I guess I didn't realize that giving birth was such an interactive entertainment for Olympians." She nestled into him, brushing a kiss of her own against his jaw. "He's wonderful," she murmured softly, her smile spiking into a smirk as she realized something else. "You know ... a year ago, we made a bargain. You'd join us if I gave you a child. Not so sure I want to give him up, though." She tilted her head, meeting his gaze with a soft look of mischief in her eyes. "I think I'd rather raise him with you instead. If you're open to renegotiating the terms, that is."

"I renegotiated the terms the day you married me," he told her quietly, that soft, loving smile on his face. "I must admit, birthing a child is not something I am comfortable with, but it was a wonder to see our son born." He tilted his gaze back at the small bundle in her arms. "He is as beautiful as his mother. More handsome even than Apollo," he said with a smirk. Such a claim had been known to cause strife on Mount Olympus in the past, but he didn't think he had to worry so much about that now.

"If I have to go through it, gappy toes, you have to watch," she informed him. "That is non-negotiable. Besides, don't you want to see your children born? Most men can't keep away, I'm told." She ignored his comments on beauty and handsomeness, knowing that they were born as much from his love for her as from what he saw before him anyway. "Thank you," she whispered to him, nestling closer all the while. "You gave me a family again. I can't ever thank you enough for that."

"I am not most men," he reminded her, though now that he'd seen their first child born, he thought he might like to see them all born - assuming they had more someday. "There is no need to thank me. It is I who should be thanking you, but I think we both want the same thing."

"I don't think I'm up to making more just yet," she teased, but her answer was obvious in that tease. "One thing, though ..." She met his gaze, her expression serious for a moment. "We can't feed him the ambrosia. It would be wrong. He's in a position where there's a choice, and we shouldn't take that choice away from him. When he's older, when he understands the consequences of that choice, either way ... then we can talk to him about it. All right?"

Ares frowned. He'd never had to face this choice before. Never were any of his mortal children granted such an honor as this, but times had changed, it seemed. As much as he wanted his son to be as immortal as he, he understood Ayden's desire to let him become an Olympian of his own choice when he was old enough to make it. Ares only hoped nothing would happen that would prevent him from living long enough to make that choice. "If that is your wish," he said. He had never denied her anything and he would not start now.

"Thank you." She kissed him softly, reaching up to touch his cheek as Alexandros fussed between them. "I guess I should probably wash up," Ayden sighed softly. "They'll be expecting us soon. That was the agreement."

"Soon, yes," Ares confirmed, seemingly in no hurry to return to Olympus, though it would never do to keep his father waiting too long. Soon, however, was a word that was hard to define in immortal terms. It could as easily mean a few minutes as a few years.

"So I think you should wash and dress your son," she added impishly, offering the bundle into his arms. "And no cheating. We're doing it all the old-fashioned way, or he'll end up spoiled." She smiled, kissing his cheek, stroking a fingertip down Alexandros' nose. "Try not to burst your poppa's eardrums, okay?"

"This is not the first ..." he trailed off, not wanting to make her jealous again of the sons and daughters he'd had before he'd met her. The mortals among them had died long ago, along with their mothers. Though a few of the immortals among them still thrived, he was not particularly close to any of them. This child with Ayden signified a fresh start and a new generation. "There is nothing wrong with spoiling him a little," he pointed out, before turning his head toward the bundle Ayden had pressed into his arms. "Your mother wishes me to wash and dress you," he said, though he wasn't quite sure what to dress the baby in other than cloth wrappings of one kind of another.

"I know he's not your firstborn," she said quietly, carefully rising onto her feet to stretch delicately. "But he's our firstborn. And I'll try not to be rude to Aphrodite." She flashed him a faint smile, grabbing the nearest change of clothes as she limped into the bathroom to wash up and make herself somewhat presentable.

He said nothing in return, hoping Aphrodite would return the favor. He sighed as he washed her limp away, wishing his father would at least let them wait until she'd had time to recover from birthing their son. It had only been a few minutes, after all, despite the gift of healing she'd been granted. Soon, she would no longer know pain or illness or aging. She would not have to worry about growing old and dying, though even Olympians had their weaknesses, as proved by Hades' death. No, it was better that they go to Olympus as soon as possible and make Ayden one of them. All of these thoughts went through Ares' mind as he did his best to wash and dress their son as best he could.

Ayden could hear Alexandros' loud complaints about being washed through the door to the bathroom, smiling to herself at how strong his voice was even as she washed herself up. She didn't feel inclined toward washing her hair, scraping it back into a ponytail before pulling on clean clothes and attempting to stand up straight to inspect herself. That belly was not a good look, she decided, wondering how long it would take to go down, but all in all, she looked good for a woman who had given birth less than an hour ago. She was presentable, at least. Pushing open the door, she leaned against the frame, smiling over at her husband and son. "If he gets any louder, they'll be able to hear him on Mount Olympus from here."

"They probably already can," Ares remarked, though he hoped they were not being eavesdropped on. He wrapped his son up in a blanket, almost as warm and snug as he'd been inside his mother's womb, and settled him against one muscled shoulder. He studied her momentarily, wondering how she was going to react to the ambrosia. The little bit of healing that had been given her after their son was born was nothing compared to the gift of immortality.

Despite that healing, she felt battered, trying not to show it as she moved very carefully over to the bed to slip her sandals on her feet. "You know ... I didn't mean to be so rude to Aphrodite," she admitted awkwardly. "I don't feel comfortable around her, not knowing the way she's treated you in the past. But I'm not the kind of person who would treat her badly for it. I was just ... annoyed and in pain, and surrounded by people who now know what my hoo-har looks like in more intimate detail than I do."

Ares couldn't help chuckling a little at her concerns, or more accurately, at the way she'd worded them. "Aphrodite has had to learn that she no longer has any influence over me. She means well, but she can be jealous and selfish at times. You would do well to tread carefully around her. She has turned lesser women into toads merely for looking at her the wrong way." Of course, if Aphrodite were to try anything with Ayden, she'd have to answer to Ares. Besides, it wouldn't be long now before Ayden was as immortal as the rest of them.

"I'm polite, Ares, I'm not a push-over," Ayden warned him gently. "If she tries anything with me, I'll break her pretty nose." And given that it had been Dean Winchester who had taught her how to punch, that wasn't so much a threat as a promise. She pushed herself onto her feet with a low groan. "God, I hope this ambrosia stuff takes the aches away."
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2016, 07:18:12 PM »
"How does the saying go? You will soon be feeling like a million bucks?" he said with a grin as he patted his son's back gently. He seemed a natural with babies, anyway, but then, he'd had plenty of practice. "Shall we?" he asked, offering her a hand.

She bit her lip, feeling suddenly nervous. She'd never met his father before; that was what was worrying her. Everyone else up there was almost incidental to this request. "I guess we shall," she agreed, sliding her hand into his to step close. "Don't drop me on the way."

"Don't worry," he assured her with a soft smile as his fingers found hers, their son cradled one-handed against his shoulder. "You are both under my protection," he assured her. It was the last thing he said before the villa faded from view and they were transported to Mount Olympus.

The bustle of the great hall of Olympus was in stark contrast this time to the last visit Ares had made. This time, there was no sadness, no regret, hanging in the air. This time, there was an air of pure delight, an excitement that seemed to bubble through the moving figures before the thrones. Not even Zeus could look stern at the prospect of adding another to their pantheon, and welcoming the child born that very day.

It was strange coming home to Olympus after being away for so long, and under happy circumstances. No more was Ares looked on as a bully or a coward; the prodigal son had returned, the firstborn of Zeus and Hera, the Champion of Olympus.

Despite the awkwardness that would always exist between them, Zeus was the first to welcome his son to Olympus, rising from his throne with open arms. "Ares, welcome," he announced, drawing the attention of everyone gathered there to the sight of the new arrivals.

All eyes fixed, not on the baby curled against his father's chest, but on Ayden. She fidgeted, embarrassed by the attention, only kept from growing too tense by the mischievous wink Hebe threw her way.

"And this must be your wife. A pleasure to meet you at last, my dear." Zeus took her hand in his, bending his head to kiss her knuckles, oblivious to the creeped out grimace on Ayden's face as he did so.

Ares knew his father had a fondness for women, though from the look on Ayden's face, he was unlikely to do much more than kiss Ayden's knuckles. "Father ... my wife, Ayden, and this is our son, Alexandros," he said, hoping to divert Zeus' attention from flirting with Ayden to his youngest grandchild.

Given the look on Hera's face, Ayden's reaction had been the right one to keep in her good books. There were a few smirks being shared around them, too. Easily distracted by the sight of a newborn into his family, Zeus straightened, absently patting Ayden's hand before turning his attention to his newest grandchild. "A fine name," he approved with a slow nod. "A good size, too. He'll be a fine warrior, like his father."

"If that's what he chooses to be," Ayden said, speaking without thinking, but thankfully Hera had been privy to some of those conversations and was ready with a deflection.

"Indeed, my love," she told her husband. "The boy may yet take after his mother, the oracle."

"I am told I have a new brother," a male voice that Ayden had never heard before piped up from somewhere off to the side. "Hmm, he's rather scrawny, don't you think?" the voice, which apparently came from a tall, broad-shouldered, blond man with a pair of wing at his back, added. On his arm was a pretty woman with shining eyes and a warm smile.

"Eros," Ares greeted his son with a slight roll of his eyes Ayden's way. "He is not scrawny. He is newly born."

"At least he wasn't born with wings," the woman at Eros' side added, leaning toward Ayden with a conspiratorial air. "Believe me, that hurts."

Ayden couldn't help smiling at this. "Psyche, right?" she made a guess, and was startled to be swept up in a warm hug by the same woman.

"Welcome to the family!"

"I happen to be rather fond of my wings," Eros pointed out, rather indignantly.

"Don't blame me!" Ares replied with a chuckle. "It was your mother's doing." Aphrodite being that mother. He had actually had several children with her, but Eros had always been his favorite. Ares smiled, relieved his family was offering Ayden a warm welcome. He wasn't too surprised by Psyche's welcome; she had once been mortal as well, after all.

"I'm not talking about your wings, love, I'm talking about Cupid's," Psyche pointed out with a smile. She had somehow managed to wiggle her way past all of them to be the first one to say hello to Alexandros in person, too; even Zeus looked surprised when she cooed at the baby from a couple of inches away.

"Children," Hera called from the thrones. "There is a purpose to this visit. Don't you think the poor girl has been through enough for one day without you keeping her on her feet while she's still mortal?"

"Oh, right," Eros replied with a slightly confused frown. "I knew that." At Hera's gentle scolding, he took Psyche's arm to draw her away from the baby to take their place among the others gathered to witness. "Come, love, it's time," he whispered as he led her away. There would be plenty of time to get acquainted later. More than enough time.

Pouting playfully at being pulled away, Psyche grinned at Ayden, skipping into the group that had gathered around them.

Zeus cleared his throat, evidently feeling as though he had lost control of the situation somewhat. "Hebe ... bring forth the ambrosia."

A low, golden note rang out through the halls of Olympus as all eyes turned to Hebe. She stood perfectly still, her hands outstretched, her eyes closed, summoning the most precious commodity of all into her grasp. As the note began to rumble in the bones, awakening Alexandros from his doze, the golden chalice appeared, and the sound suddenly ceased, the delicious smell of ambrosia filling the great hall around them. Ayden gulped, glancing warily at Ares. It was now or never, it seemed.

Ares knew this was the crucial moment, the point of no return. Once Ayden drank of the ambrosia, she would be as immortal as he was. She would outlive her brother and her brother's children; she would never again suffer from pain or illness. It was both a gift and a curse to live such a long life, and it was not for everyone, but she would not be alone in her immortality. She would never be alone again.

"I would never force this on you, Ayden. It is your choice," Ares told her, and one she had to make wisely. But there Psyche was looking happy to be with her Eros, a goddess in her own right who had once been a mortal woman.
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2016, 07:19:00 PM »
And what a choice. On the one hand, she would outlive everyone she loved; she would watch them live out their lives - not only them, but their children, and their children's children. She would no longer be human. But on the other hand, she would be with the man she loved for an eternity, a part of a wider family that loved humanity almost as much as itself. She would have the means to be able to watch over her family through the generations. It was a hard decision to make, but it was a decision she had made months before, when she had first agreed to be Ares' wife. Taking in a deep breath, she took the chalice from Hebe's hands, breathing in the rich aroma that rose from it. Just one sip, and she would say goodbye to the life she had always thought she would live.

It seemed the whole court held their breath while they awaited Ayden to choose either to become one of them or to reject them forever, for the offer would not be made again. Were she to refuse, she would be immediately returned to Earth and that would be that. She would live out her life until its natural end; she would grow old while Ares remained young.

Ares only smiled his encouragement. He had long searched for a woman who would be strong and wise enough to become not only his lover but his wife. Was it any wonder when he found her that Winchester blood flowed in her veins?

Only Hebe was close enough to hear the words Ayden whispered as she raised the chalice to her lips, a last goodbye to one soul she knew she would never see again.

"Goodbye, Mom."

She sipped, she swallowed, and as Hebe took the chalice from her hands, sending it back to its resting place, the transformation began. There was nothing subtle about it; in a blaze of golden fire, Ayden threw her head back, no sound escaping from her screaming lips as Olympian flame coursed through her body, searing everything it touched with the power that belonged only to them. In the midst of that flickering brightness, her eyes glowed silver, seeing nothing around her, Seeing everything that had ever been or ever would be in a flash of insight that she might never have again. And as abruptly as it began, it was over.

Ayden folded in on herself, crouched low on the ground as she shook, the last vestiges of her humanity seeping away. Slowly, she rose to her feet, raising her head to look around her at her new family. The green eyes Ares knew so well shone with a glint of silver; the long, dark hair was lustrous and shining. Her body no longer bore the mark of childbirth, slender once again, and garbed in white and gold, a necklace of rubies about her throat. And in her hand was a golden mirror, the symbol of her power and the weapon only she could wield.

Each of the Olympians bore a gift, and that gift was not lost on Ayden, who already had a gift of her own before she drank from the chalice. Now that she was immortal, the ambrosia would only have enhanced that gift so that she was a true oracle. Once upon a time, there might have been temples erected in her honor and priestesses devoted to her worship. Today, she would have to be satisfied with a husband who worshiped her, and perhaps the people of Porto Helio, who knew his true nature. If she was beautiful before, the gift of immortality had enhanced that beauty so that she rivaled even Aphrodite herself, and when Ares took her hand and drew her to her feet, there were tears shining in his azure blue eyes.

She turned her eyes to her husband, wonder and amazement in her gaze, and a slow smile crossed her face. But when she spoke, no matter how her beauty had been enhanced or her gift amplified, she was still his Ayden. "Wow, head rush. Did I get taller?"

"No, love," Ares replied, with a chuckle. "It does not work that way. Did you wish to be taller?" he asked, curiously, wondering if she was unhappy with her height. As far as he was concerned, she was perfect. And there he was, still holding their son. It was time to present them both to his parents and the court, so none would misunderstand that she was one of them now. He took hold of her hand and turned so that they first faced Zeus and Hera and then, with a nod from his mother, he turned again to present them to the court. "May I present Ayden, the Goddess of Truth, and our son, Alexandros, born to us this very day."

Filled with a confidence she hadn't realized would be hers now she was one of them, Ayden smiled happily as Hera and Zeus welcomed her, turning at Ares' slightest touch to be presented to the Olympian court. A low murmur of welcome went through those present as she bowed to them, an instinct that was wholly new guiding her steps. But she barely had a moment to recover before the patter of footsteps betrayed someone incoming, fast. It was Hebe, throwing her arms around her new sister with a delighted giggle, followed swiftly by her own sons, the eternal children born of Heracles. Laughing, Ayden was enveloped in their many-limbed embrace, surprised and pleased by her reception.

"She's beautiful," a quiet voice said from behind Ares. Aphrodite was watching as his wife was welcomed by the pantheon, an almost wistful look in her silver eyes. "A beautiful soul. Congratulations."

Ares beamed proudly as the Olympians welcomed her, one and all, it seemed, led first by Hebe and her brood. He turned as Aphrodite spoke behind him, and his smile softened. He wished there to be peace between them, and he wanted no animosity between his wife and his former lover - the mother of most of his surviving children. They'd had their chance to be together, and he had no regrets, but they would never be lovers again. He hoped they could, instead, be friends. "It would please me very much if you and she could be friends," he told her, a hopeful look on his face. If anyone owed him, it was Aphrodite. It could be argued that if it hadn't been for her, he might have never been banished from Olympus.

"There is too much history between us, Ares, to ever allow for a friendship between your chosen consort and myself," Aphrodite told him gently. "But perhaps ... friendly, is what we can be to one another. I will never stop envying you for what you have - a loving marriage, a blessed partnership - and she will never forgive me for hurting you as I have done in the past. That is how it should be. But I will never harm her. I give you my word."

Ares softened a little more at her promise. "There is blame enough to go around, 'Dite. I forgave you a long time ago." Though he knew it was unlikely that Ayden would be quite so forgiving as he was. "There has been enough pain and grief. Today is a day of celebration, and I would be happy for your friendship," he told her truthfully, but that was all he was willing to give her.

"Once, you would have given me more without ever expecting anything in return," she reminded him. "Even when they forced me to marry Hephaestus." Her gaze fell on the babe lying in his arms. "He is a fine child, Ares. Don't forget to help your oracle protect his right to choose his own future. Zeus doesn't hold all the cards anymore."

"I am sorry, 'Dite," he found himself apologizing, a frown on his face, though there was no looking back. What was done was done, and there was no going back. There had been a time when he would have done anything she'd asked of him, when he'd risked everything to be with her, but he had paid a heavy price for it, and that time had passed. Though he would always care for her, he was no longer in love with her. His heart belonged to Ayden now and would forever more.
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2016, 07:19:39 PM »
"There is nothing to forgive, Ares."

As Aphrodite slipped away, into the group that surrounded Ayden as though she had been there all along, Ares' wife looked over at him, a curious sheen in her eyes at the frown on his face. She had never expected the Olympians to be so welcoming, so eager to have her as one of them, feeling a sense of family in them that she could not have imagined. But the vastness of her Sight in the moments when she had first become as they were was haunting, an overwhelming wealth of knowledge that was gone as quickly as it arrived. Her mind held onto only small snatches - the vision of a familiar human family, years into the future; a suggestion of battle with forces more ancient even than Olympus; a time many years from now when the only familiar faces had been Ares and their children. It was almost too much to consider, especially amid the happy group around her.

Drawing herself away from the group, she slipped to his side, tucking her hand into his, almost hiding behind him from the beaming smiles still aimed in her direction. "This is a little overwhelming," she murmured softly.

Ares' attention turned quickly from contemplating Aphrodite's words to his wife. Born an Olympian, he could not know how exactly it felt when Ayden had drank the nectar of the gods. He did not know how it felt or what she had seen, but he knew she likely had mixed feelings about becoming immortal - or as immortal as one could be. He wrapped her in a one-armed embrace as she came to him, seeing the almost bashful expression on her face. She was certainly unaccustomed to the kind of attention she was receiving here today, but he was glad they were at least welcoming her with open arms. "Be happy they like you," he murmured quietly back, looking to the tiny bundle he was still cradling against his shoulder. "I think perhaps it's time you greet your son," he told her with a soft smile, as he carefully shifted the small bundle from his shoulder and offered her their son.

To her shame, she had almost forgotten that he was holding their son, born barely more than an hour ago, yet so much had happened in that hour, she could be excused a momentary lapse of memory. Her smile turned from shy to joyful as she nodded. "Maybe this time I won't be afraid of dropping him," she teased her husband, reaching to take the little bundle from his arms and hold him close. One tiny hand took hold of the necklace about her throat as she settled Alexandros against her shoulder, and she felt herself melt. "Goodness ..." she breathed. "You didn't tell me every emotion would be so amplified."

"There are some things you must learn for yourself," he said, smiling as he watched mother and son. He could not have been happier if she had been born an Olympian. She was a vision to behold in the newness of her immortality, and the fact that she had just born his son only enhanced her beauty in his eyes. Was it any wonder Aphrodite was envious? She could have had this for herself if she'd fought harder for it, but that chance had come and gone. "He is a fine son, and his mother is the most beautiful woman I have ever met."

Smiling down at her son, Ayden found herself almost tearful with wonder at how perfect the tiny boy was. She felt a strong urge to protect him - not just his physical self and soul, but to protect his future, whatever he chose to make of it. But Ares' words made her smile. "You shouldn't say things like that around here," she reminded him, raising her eyes to his, her expression filled with love. "Comments like that start wars."

He shrugged, unconcerned. Though she had a point, he doubted anyone would dare make a fuss today, of all days, especially given what had recently become of Athena. Even Aphrodite seemed more demure than usual, and he doubted she would dare lift a finger against them in any way, no matter how jealous she might be. The scales had shifted, and Ares was at last enjoying his father's favor. "Should a husband not think his wife beautiful? Any husband who does not is the one who is at fault, not I," he insisted.

"Especially when she's having a bad hair day," Psyche interrupted, grinning at the pair of them. Her eyes focused on Ayden with a certain amount of sympathy. "It takes a while to get used to," she advised quietly. "Try staying away from Olympus for a while. The only way to get a handle on all the changes is to be normal, and normal for you isn't living life up here. I didn't get that chance, and it took me decades to get used to everything being so overwhelming."

Decades as far as mortals measured time anyway. And Ayden had the added difficulty of being an oracle, so there was that to deal with, too, though no one seemed to want to mention it. "We should visit your family. They will worry if we stay away too long," Ares remarked. Not to mention, they'd want to meet the newest member of the family.

Ayden nodded absently, feeling an ache in her heart for the family she had begun to step away from with this decision. "But ... won't everyone here mind if I stay away?" she asked, glancing at both of them in concern. "They seem so happy with me here."

"They are, and they will be even happier when you return," Eros broke in as he joined the group, his arms going around Psyche from behind, his chin coming to rest against her shoulder.

"Time is not measured the same way here, and your family deserves to know what's become of you," Ares added, with a small frown. He wasn't sure what to expect when he faced her brother again, nor was he sure how her family would react to the fact that  Ayden was no longer mortal. They would either see it as a gift or a curse, but he was not sure which.

Ayden mirrored his frown, but for a slightly different reason. There was more sadness than concern in her eyes. "They knew this was coming," she reminded him gently. "I need to talk to my brother."

Hera joined them, laying her hand gently on the new goddess' hair. "Return to Earth, Goddess of Truth," she suggested warmly. "Renew your family bonds with your husband, and your son. And know that you have a gift beyond price, though it may sometimes seem a curse. You see the truth - past, present, and future. No one will ever be able to deceive you again."

"Thank you, Mother," Ares said, relieved, though now that Ayden was immortal, he was dreading a possible confrontation with Dean. "Will you offer my thanks to Father?" he asked, worried his father might take offense if they left Olympus so soon after they'd arrived.

"Oh, don't worry about him," Psyche suggested. "We can sic Hebe's boys and our Cupid on him, he won't notice you're gone for hours yet."

Ayden couldn't help laughing at this slightly devious plan offered up by the only other Olympian who had been born mortal; even Hera smiled at the suggestion.

"Go," the Queen of Olympus told them kindly. "Your father can't have everything his own way all the time, you know."
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2016, 07:20:19 PM »
"We will return as soon as we can," Ares promised, knowing they could not keep his father waiting forever to hold his newest grandson. He touched a kiss to his mother's cheek, the ever loving and dutiful son. There had been a time when they had not always agreed, but they had never stopped loving each other. The bond between mother and son was a strong one, as Ayden was just learning for herself. He looked to Psyche and grinned. "Keep him out of trouble," he told her, regarding that other son.

"Oh, but he's so good at getting into it," she teased, nuzzling back against Eros impishly.

Ayden snorted with laughter, surprised when Hera kissed her cheek in farewell.

"Be safe, my children," Hera told them, stepping back to pull Eros and Psyche back into the gathering with her, allowing the God of War and his family time to escape.

Ares paused a moment to survey the scene, as his mother and son and daughter-in-law melted back into the group of Olympians who were the only family he'd ever had ... until now. He spied his father somewhere in the gathering and offered him a grateful nod. It seemed he had at last earned the respect he had craved for so long. He turned back to Ayden, and it was like looking from the past to the future. She was his future, now and forever. He only hoped forever was long enough. "Ready?" he asked of their next destination.

Ayden tore her eyes from the joyful gathering of Olympians, understanding a little of why Psyche suggested staying away for a while. It was tempting to lose herself in the ebb and flow of power here, but that wasn't who she was. She needed to learn how to be herself in this new perspective before she could stay long in this mythical place. "Ready," she nodded to Ares, stepping close to him as she cuddled Alexandros against her shoulder. It was time to face the music with the mortal side of the family.

All it took was him willing them there, and with a touch of a hand against her back, they were suddenly no longer on Mount Olympus but standing outside the home of Dean and Jo Winchester on a warm summer night, the stars shining brightly overhead, a crescent moon high in the sky.

Ayden looked up, her mouth forming an "o" as she took note of the night around them and the dark house before them. "I see what you mean about time moving differently," she mused thoughtfully. Against her shoulder, Alexandros finally realized he hadn't been fed, and woke up with a rip-roaring scream of discontent that should have deafened her. In the house, there was the suggestion of movement as a dim light flicked on, and the sound of a female groan sounding through the open window.

"Aw, come on, Bertie," Jo was audible in complaining through her yawn. "I fed you, like, a half an hour ago ..."

Ares winced as Alexandros screamed loud enough to wake the dead - or at least, the living. "Maybe we should come back tomorrow," he suggested before they were found out. It wasn't so much Jo that made him nervous as it was Dean, and yet, he knew both hunters wanted nothing but happiness for Ayden. It gave him a little hope, anyway, but it could still wait until morning.

"Uh ..." But even as Ayden hesitated, it was too late. The main light turned on, and with their hearing, it was easy to pick up the sound of Dean being shaken awake.

"Get up, princess, there's a baby crying and it's not ours."

"Go back to sleep," Dean replied groggily, burying his head under his pillow even as Jo shook him. "You're dreaming." He thought he heard the sound of a baby crying, but the sound was muffled beneath the pillow. If she'd told him someone was trying to break in, he'd probably be out of bed in a flash, but he knew as well as she did that theirs was the only baby in the vicinity, and he'd been sleeping peacefully for hours.

Ayden didn't need to see Jo to know exactly the look on her sister-in-law's face. "Here, then you hold this," Jo said, and judging by the noise, she had just deposited Bertie squarely on his own father's head. "I'll be the man." Footsteps suggested Jo was on her way downstairs as Ayden glanced up at Ares.

"Something tells me none of us are getting out of this with dignity."

Dean grumbled and mumbled a curse or three as he withdrew his head from beneath the pillow to find Bertie wriggling atop it and blinking sleepily at his father. "Wait ..." Dean said, blinking back as Jo thumped down the stairs. He was awake now and realized that if it wasn't Bertie crying, then whose baby was it? Scooping Bertie up into his arms, he got to his feet to follow Jo down the stairs, hoping someone hadn't deposited an orphan at their front door.

Ares frowned, but it was too late to leave now. They'd only have to answer for it tomorrow. "As mortals like to say, I guess we will just have to face the music." He'd hadn't quite sorted out the meaning of that phrase. Was facing the music supposed to be a bad thing and if so, why?

Jostling Alexandros in the hope that he would at least quiet down a little, Ayden looked anxiously toward the front door as it opened to reveal the Winchesters in all their sleepy glory, thankfully not nude.

Jo blinked, looking the trio over, and snorted with laughter. "I'll put the coffee on," she said, and stepped away from the door, stealing Bertie from Dean's arms as she did so.

Dean looked from his sister to the baby to Ares and back, eyes momentarily narrowed in either irritation or confusion, but it didn't last. "Well, don't just stand there. Come inside before you wake the dead." Thankfully, it was only an expression, even if it was a poor choice of words. It hadn't yet occurred to him that he'd become an uncle, though he had noted the small, screaming bundle in Ayden's arms. To his credit, he didn't berate them for waking them. At least, not yet. He held the door open and waved them inside.

Biting her lip, Ayden felt herself relax a little at the very normal greeting from her brother and his wife. It seemed as though nothing fazed them at all, not even being woken up in the middle of the night for a family visit. "I'm sorry we're so late," she apologized, glancing back at Ares as she stepped inside. "I, uh ... I didn't realize how much time had gone by."

"The fault is mine," Ares interjected, as he followed Ayden inside. "Ayden was eager to share the news, and I lost track of time."

"The news," Dean said, as he closed and locked the door behind them. Maybe he was still a little groggy because it took a moment for his brain to catch up. "Wait ... Is that? Did you?" he asked, waving a hand at the small wailing bundle in Ayden's arms. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in bed resting or something?" He paused briefly again, as the wheels in his head kept turning. "Is everything okay?" he asked, worriedly, wondering why they hadn't just called. Maybe the baby was a few days old already, but that still didn't explain why the unexpected visit without any warning.

"No, no, everything's fine," Ayden assured him worriedly, still jostling the baby in the hope he would shut up enough to get some sense through Dean's skull. "He's good, I'm good. I'm better than good, actually. Um ..." Frowning, she twisted, handing Alexandros to Ares for a moment, and turned fully to face her brother. "Dean, I gave birth today. Just a few hours ago, actually, and, uh ... I drank the ambrosia." She braced herself, hoping the reaction wasn't going to be explosive.
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2016, 07:20:56 PM »
Ares winced as Ayden handed him their son and blurted the news to her brother without much fanfare. "I think I'll go check on Jo," he said, slipping out of the room like a coward, though he thought Ayden might want a moment alone with her brother while he digested the news.

Dean looked to the newborn, then to Ares, then back to Ayden. "You ... what?" he asked, not seeming to quite grasp what she was saying just yet.

The look Ayden gave her husband as he stepped smartly out of sight promised retribution. "God of War, my ass," she muttered, turning to meet Dean's gaze once again. "Dean, look at me. Really look at me. I had to make a choice, and I did."

Ares was at least smart enough not to start a war in Dean Winchester's living room. Call him a coward, but he was no fool. Dean ignored Ares for the moment, though he was eager to meet his nephew, and focused his attention on Ayden. He furrowed his brows as he looked at his sister, understanding what she was telling him, but unsure if he believed it. "Why?" he asked. "Why'd you have to make a choice? Did he make you choose?" he asked, of Ares. Choose between what? Mortality and immortality? Her human family and the gods of Olympus?

"No one forced me," she was quick to assure him, wishing she could make him understand more easily why she had decided as she did. "And no one expects me to change the way things are. You're my family, you will always be my family. And I will watch over your children, and your grandchildren, and everyone who comes afterward. This was my choice, Dean, and I made it months ago, before I married Ares. I love him. What would you have done, in my place?"

Dean's expression was sober, solemn, but not angry. He and Jo had discussed this possibility already and he'd grudgingly agreed that it was up to Ayden and that he would not interfere. Somehow, he had hoped it wouldn't come to this, even though Jo had pointed out the advantages. After a long moment, he sighed. It was her life to live, after all, not his, and her choice to make. "I'd have done the same thing, I suppose." After all, he'd literally gone to hell and back to save Jo from death. He understood what that kind of love and devotion felt like; he just hadn't expected it from his sister, even though the evidence had been right before his eyes. "Forever is a long time, Ay. Are you sure you're okay with that?"

"Not yet." The words were out before she could stop them, shocking her with how honest they were. Comprehension did not take long to dawn, however. "Oh, come on ... I can't lie, either? Not even to help my brother feel better about my decisions?" This was addressed to the world in general; Dean didn't have a hope of answering it, after all.

Dean furrowed his brows at her again, unsure just who she was talking to, if not him. "Is that a rhetorical question?" he asked, wondering if she was expecting an answer, though he didn't quite understand the question. "I think I need a drink. Care to join me?" he asked, though Jo was supposed to be busy making coffee.

"Uh ... yeah, that sounds like a good idea," she agreed, a little flustered to discover that truth was a bit of a double-edged sword. It sounded as though Jo had gotten fed up of the crying and made up a bottle for Alexandros, which at least lowered the noise in the house. "This is going to take some getting used to. And I'm a mom, too. Maybe I did it too soon."

"Are you, uh ..." Dean waved a hand in a circle vaguely in the direction of her breasts. If she was breast-feeding, then a drink might not be in her or the baby's best interest. At least, the crying had stopped, which meant maybe Jo could get Bertie back to bed, so they could sort this out. He snorted at her remark regarding motherhood. "If there's one thing I've learned it's that there's no good time for having a baby." He went to the cabinet where he kept a few bottles of liquid courage on hard for the rare occasion it was called for and poured them each a shot.

"He's half-Olympian," she pointed out. "Me having one drink isn't going to kill him." And she was beginning to look like she needed that drink. The euphoria of Olympus was fading, leaving her with the overwhelming sensations of being very different now to the way she had been that morning. "You know I don't even get a weapon? Ares has a spear, Artemis has a bow, even Aphrodite has a dagger, and I get a mirror."

"A mirror?" he echoed, brows arching as he handed her the glass. He knew what her talents had been while she'd been human. Had those talents been enhanced when she'd become immortal? "At least, you don't have a sneaker named after you," he said, attempting a bit of humor. He lifted his glass in a toast. "To family," he said. It seemed appropriate.

Surprised from her hint toward petulance by his insightful bit of humor, Ayden sighed, laughing as she took the glass from him. "You're right," she agreed, raising the glass with him. "To family. Our family, no matter how disparate we are."

He clinked his glass gently against hers, a warm smile on his face as she not only accepted his toast, but added to it. "I'll drink to that," he agreed and did so, tossing the shot back in its entirety without so much as a wince, even as it burned its way down his throat. "So, when do I get to meet my nephew?" he asked, a grin on his face. Maybe this wouldn't go as badly as she and Ares had thought.

For the first time, Ayden did the same, barely even wincing herself as she swallowed the shot. She did, however, shudder and pull a gruesome face as she put the glass down. "So ... you really don't mind that I went through with it without talking it to death first?" she asked, needing him to assure her that her decision would not be the end of the relationship with him she treasured.

He shrugged, as he took the glass from her. He might have liked another, but he thought one was enough, as far as she was concerned. "Jo and I thought it was a possibility. I'm not saying I'm thrilled about it, but it's your life and your decision to make." That might be about as much of a vote of confidence as she was likely to get from her brother just yet.

She held his gaze for a long moment, debating with herself. "I ... I Saw something," she said quietly. "Well, I mean I Saw everything for a split second there, but I only remember little bits. Hints, you know? I saw you and Jo, and your kids. And I think one of them was getting married. I-I could tell you about it, if you'd like."

Dean's brows arched upwards curiously, but he raised a hand as if to stop her. "Honestly? I'd rather not know." It was the human thing to do. Besides, no matter what Ayden "saw" in the future, Dean believed in Free Will. He didn't believe the future was set in stone, but could be changed by the choices one made. Knowing was both a blessing and a curse, and he thought he was better off not knowing.

"I know," she said, and her smile was almost as wise as it was cheeky. "But I had to offer." As to the warning ... well, she would hold onto that one for a while. The future was not a certainty, after all. Her smile faded as another thought came to her. "Your Sam ... I Saw him, too. There's a part of you still there, still looking out for him. And Cas is still there, too. I never thought I'd see either of them again, but ... even if it was just for a split second. I know they're good, Dean. Both of them."
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Re: Peace
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2016, 07:21:28 PM »
That gave him pause more than anything else she might have told him. "You saw Sam?" he asked, knowing she was referring to his brother, not his son from either the future or the present. There was a hint of sadness in his eyes, if only for a moment. Not a day went by that he didn't miss his brother, but knowing he was still alive and well back home and fighting the good fight gave him comfort. And with Cas, apparently. "Would - would you mind if I asked about them once in a while?" he asked, reluctantly. He, too, had made his choice, and he wasn't going to abandon everyone he loved and everything he'd worked for here to return to his own world and time, but it gave him comfort to know Sam and Cas were still alive and well.

"Of course I won't mind," she told him softly, moving to embrace her big brother warmly. "Seems like I can't lie anymore, so you can always trust me to tell you the truth. Always. But you know, you can't lie to me either, so ... let's promise never to ask each other about Christmas and birthday presents ever again, okay?"

Dean swiped an errant tear or two away from his face before returning her embrace. "Promise," he replied, biting his tongue before he said too much. At least, he wouldn't have to worry about losing her now that she was immortal. It would be her who would have to watch him grow old and die someday, and that was okay. He was looking forward to it, so long as he had a full life before that.

She kissed his cheek, hugging him tight a moment longer. "Word of warning, though," she murmured in his ear. "Get very used to waiting in line for the bathroom in the morning." Stepping back, she winked at him. "Wanna meet your nephew? He's cuter than Bertie, but that's just my opinion."

Dean arched a brow, wondering what she meant by that. Were he and Jo going to have half a dozen daughters in their future? "Maybe we'll just add another bathroom," he commented. Or several. He couldn't help but laugh at her comment regarding Bertie though. "You're allowed. You're his mother," he said. "By the way, you look pretty damned good for a woman who just gave birth," he added, looking her over again. "Come on. I want to meet my new nephew," he said, tossing a brotherly arm around her shoulder to let her into the kitchen. And just maybe get under Ares' skin a little.

"What, you like my goddess look?" She twirled, showing off the white dress, gold belt, and fancy accessories. "This all happened by itself, all I did was drink. I didn't even get taller." She grinned, happy to tuck under her brother's arm as he lead the way into the kitchen to join their respective spouses.

"Not very practical, but it would make a great Halloween costume," he teased, smirking as he led her into the kitchen, where the smell of coffee told him it was definitely brewing. There he found Ares seated on a chair, feeding his son his first bottle.

"Seven of them? To birth one baby?" Jo was saying in disbelief as Dean and Ayden entered the kitchen. Bertie was dozing on her shoulder as she swayed - one-handed coffee making had become one of her many skills in the last few months. "Isn't that kind of overkill? It only took one mortal midwife to deliver Bertie."

"Well, until Ayden chased them all off," Ares was overhead saying. He looked up as Dean and Ayden stepped into the room, looking a little abashed that they'd chosen that moment to join them. He flashed Ayden a slightly embarrassed smile, hoping she wasn't angry at him for telling Jo what had happened. "He seems to have a good appetite, love," he told her of their son, who was already three-quarters finished with his bottle.

"I don't remember doing that much chasing," Ayden said sweetly, laughing as she leaned down to kiss her husband's cheek, stroking her fingertips against Alexandros' head. "I guess we kept him waiting too long, huh?"

Jo was still looking a little horrified. "Seven Olympians," she muttered, shaking her head as she handed Dean a cup of coffee just the way he liked it. "That's one crowded bedroom."

"It's a big room," Ares said by way of explanation, slightly distracted by Ayden's kiss and smiling up at her, proud of both her and their son. "There is certainly nothing wrong with his lungs."

Dean rolled his eyes a little at the almost too mushy display of affection taking place in his kitchen, as he took the cup of coffee from Jo. "So, are you staying the night or what?"

"Uh ..." Ayden held Ares' gaze for a moment longer before she answered her brother. "I don't think so," she admitted awkwardly. "But we'll come back tomorrow for a proper visit, if that's okay by you. I just ... I really wanted to share the news."

Dean's smile faded and he looked almost disappointed, but he understood, or at least tried to. After all, his sister had just given birth earlier that day, and they would need time to adjust to life with a newborn. "I haven't even had a chance to hold him yet," Dean whined.

"We're hardly going to whisk off without letting you cuddle him," Ayden laughed at her brother's petulance. "Let him finish eating first, okay?"

Jo nudged her husband, grinning at him. "See? I told you getting all godded-up wouldn't change her."

"You better not!" Dean insisted, pouting just a little while Ares went about burping the newborn. "So, what did you name him?" he asked further. He'd suggested once that Dean was as good a name as any, but it was mostly in jest. Mostly. He and Jo had planned on naming their firstborn Sam after his brother, but when that son had traveled back in time and decided to stay, they'd settled on Bertie instead, to distinguish him from Sam and Bobby, after whom he was named.

Ayden met her brother's gaze with a faint smirk. She could just imagine what his reaction was going to be to this news. "His name is Alexandros," she told him, daring him to make fun of the choice.

Beside Dean, Jo nodded in approval, her brows high for a moment as she glanced at her own husband. She, however, was wondering if Alexandros was going to need a diaper to get him back to Greece without soiling his daddy.

His proper name might be Alexandros, but to his uncle, he was thereafter going to be simply Alex, no matter how much Ares might insist on the more formal version of his son's name. "Alexandros. That's very ... Greek," Dean replied, but said nothing more about it. "Well, let's see what you're made of, Alex," he said, gesturing with arms outstretched for the infant. "I'm not a rookie where babies are concerned, you know," he assured his immortal brother-in-law. Once upon a time, he'd taken care of his brother Sam from the time he was little more than a baby, after all.

"If he drops him, you can singe his backside with a fireball," Jo suggested. "I give you my blessing."

Ayden giggled, squeezing Ares' shoulder as she moved to join Jo, to hug her sister-in-law and stroke Bertie's cheek, leaving the men to wrangle over who held the newborn baby.
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Ayden

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Re: Peace
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2016, 07:22:22 PM »
"I'm not gonna drop him," Dean replied with a scowl, before sticking his tongue out at his own wife. Yes, he was very mature. He turned back to Ares with a hopeful look on his face, and even though Ares had hardly had time to hold his own son yet, he could not help but allow the hunter that honor. "Well, now, what do we have here?" Dean asked, as he examined the small bundle that was now cradled in his arms.

Alexandros was very small, especially compared with the size Bertie had been when he was born, but there was a certain sweetness about the sleepy face that contrasted with his cousin. He burped gleefully up at his uncle, blowing bubbles in his spit-up as he blinked those unfocused eyes in Dean's general direction.

"He's a little small for an Olympian, don't you think?" Dean mused aloud, though the baby seemed healthy enough. "Is he immortal, too?" he asked, unsure how all that immortality stuff worked where Olympians were concerned.

"He's a baby, Dean," his sister pointed out in amusement. "He'll grow. And ... no, he isn't immortal. I wouldn't take that choice away from him. When he's older, old enough to understand what it means, he can make that decision for himself in a way that his siblings won't ever be able to."

Jo frowned, looking at Ayden and Ares in concern. That was a very painful decision they had made, to risk the chance that their firstborn would die a natural death rather than join them in immortality. But it was a very human decision, too.

It seemed Dean was thinking the same thing, especially considering who they were or who they were associated with. There were plenty of threats still left in the world now that Hades had been defeated. Then again, his sister was an Oracle, so who was he to question her decision? "It's kind of a no brainer, don't you think, though?" he asked, not wanting to contemplate what the outcome of a such a decision might be. Then again, if he was offered the gift of immorality, he just might turn it down.

"It depends what kind of man he grows up to be," Ayden said quietly. "What kind of oracle would I be if I can't protect my own son's right to determine his future for himself?"

"I guess," Dean replied, dropping the subject. Alexandros was not his son, and it was not his decision to make. He wasn't even sure he'd want to make that decision for his own children, if it were ever offered. Part of being human was knowing life was short and therefore precious. He couldn't imagine what it would feel like to live forever. He thought life might get a little boring if it lasted forever. He hoped for his sister's sake, he was wrong. "I see some of you in him," Dean remarked, changing the subject as he looked back at the newborn in his arms, secretly counting all his fingers and toes.

"Half, I hope," Jo commented, moving to look down on her new nephew. "He's so cute. Was he born with that cheeky little smile, too?"

Ayden giggled softly, returning to Ares to wrap her arms around him comfortably. "I was a little distracted at the time."

Ares returned the favor, an arm going around Ayden to draw her close as Jo and Dean ogled over their new nephew. "Even if we wanted him to drink of the ambrosia, he would not be allowed until he is old enough to decide for himself," Ares pointed out, hoping to explain further. In all history, there were only a few mortals who'd been granted such a gift and despite their gift, even fewer who were still living. The truth was that even Olympians weren't entirely immune to death, as proved when Dean killed Hades. They were just a lot harder to kill.

"Yeah, I get it," Dean replied, with just a hint of irritation in his voice at Ares' insistence on explaining further.

"I don't get why you're grumpy, you've been asleep since we went to bed," Jo reminded her husband with one raised brow, daring him to take offense at Ares' attempts to be friendly again.

Ayden's eyes strayed toward the clock, startled to note that it was, indeed, the middle of the night there. "God, I didn't realize it was so late here," she gasped, almost ashamed of herself for not having known. "Time moves really differently on Olympus."

"I'm not grumpy," Dean insisted, though he liked his beauty sleep as much as anyone - maybe more. He didn't usually deal well with being woken in the middle of the night, though he was wide awake now. "Well, it's probably about breakfast time in Greece right now," Dean remarked, doing the math in his head or thereabouts. He wasn't sure how they kept track of time on Olympus.

"We should probably let you get back to sleep," Ares said, ignoring Dean's irritation. It would take a little time before the two alpha males became friends, but Ares wasn't very worried about it. So long as he was with Ayden, Dean didn't have much choice but to be at least halfway nice to him, whether he liked the Olympian or not.

"We'll come back when it's daytime here," Ayden promised, knowing that Dean, at least, would be more open to visitors when he wasn't just woken up. "May we have our son back?"

Jo snorted with laughter at the cheeky question, moving to put the coffee cups in the dishwasher, Bertie still asleep on her shoulder.

"What?" Dean asked, almost forgetting he was holding the newborn. "Oh, right," he said, before handing the infant back to his mother. Only a few months younger than Bertie, there was a chance the two boys might grow up to be friends. They were first cousins, after all. He supposed that was up to them. "Why don't you come by for lunch? We should be up and dressed by then," Dean suggested. "And I'm sure the rest of the family would like to meet Alex," he added, knowing Ellen, at least, would likely kill him if she missed out on the chance to meet the newest addition to the family.

"Lunch sounds like a good idea," Ayden agreed, cuddling Alexandros on her shoulder as she slipped back to Ares once again. "And I'm really sorry about waking you up in the middle of the night."

Jo smiled, stroking her hand down Dean's back. "I'm glad you did," she said warmly. "You look good. All of you."

"Alexandros," Ares corrected.

"That's what I said," Dean replied, before stepping forward to touch a kiss to his sister's cheek. "Congratulations, sis." He even offered Ares a hand. "Ares. Take good care of them," he told the Olympian, with a hint of a warning tone in his voice, which said, "Or else you'll answer to me."

"I intend to," Ares replied, gripping Dean's hand and giving it an almost too tight squeeze.

"Boys, play nice," Jo said mildly, noting the way the skin on Dean's hand whitened during that handshake. "If you can't play nicely, the women in the family might decide not to let you play at all."

"Imagine that," Ayden agreed. "No more sex, no more babies. You might not even get any more kisses if you can't play nicely together."

Ares snorted, doubtfully at Ayden's threat, but he did loosen his grip on Dean's hand.

Dean winced a little at the Olympian's grip but made no complaint. "Why do I have a feeling that kid is gonna be a little like Bam Bam?" he found himself asking, knowing the reference would likely go right over Ares' head. Hey, Dean had watched plenty of Saturday morning cartoons growing up and The Flintstones was just one of them.

"That mean Bertie's gonna be like Pebbles?" Jo asked laughingly, watching as Ayden tucked her free arm about Ares' waist. "Might take a while to grow his hair long enough for the 'do."

"Uh, no," Dean replied, narrowing his eyes at his wife's remark. "First of all, he's a boy, and secondly, he's not a redhead." Maybe he was a little on the grumpy side, after all. He opened his mouth to suggest that maybe Hope would be more like Pebbles but decided against it. It was a silly argument. "Okay, I'm going back to bed. See you tomorrow for lunch?"

Laughing, Ayden nodded. "Yeah, we'll be by for lunch," she promised. "Sleep well, Big Bird." Tucked close against Ares' side, she concentrated, attempting this teleportation thing for the first time. Predictably, it didn't work.

Jo bit her lip in an attempt not to laugh. "We'll let you go and get settled again," she smiled, switching off the light. "Come on, boys, bedtime."

Dean smiled fondly at his sister's pet name. "You, too, Elmo," he replied with a smirk. "Get some sleep yourself," he told her, though now that she was an immortal, he wondered if she even needed to sleep. He turned to follow Jo back to bed with a chuckle, leaving Ares to show Ayden the way home.

"It takes practice," Ares told his wife with a soft smile of his own, before working his mojo and sending his little family back home to Greece where breakfast was waiting.

Hopefully, there would be peace now. Peace in which to learn how to be what they were, a family that straddled the lines that made human and Olympian different from one another. And in that peace, maybe lessons could be taught and learned, to ensure that humanity would never again be a plaything for beings who should have known better.
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