"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.