Requiescant in Pace?
The undisturbed quiet inherent in all crypts was rent with the staccato footfalls of someone hurrying either to or from something, or somewhere. No matter where the owner of those feet was headed, the footfalls were definitely hurrying. That much could not be denied. Their step sounded light, almost as if the possessor of those feet were skipping down a flight of stairs. Not at all concerned if anyone either saw him, or in this case, heard him. Not that anyone in the crypt chamber was paying any attention. Not that they could even if they wanted to. They were, after all, dead; but obviously not forgotten.
As the skip, skip, skip of happy hurrying footfalls grew nearer whistling could be heard - tuneful whistling at that. Whomever it was, was surely glad to be visiting the house of the dead? Yet again, not a single resident raised a comment for or against their cheerfully tuneful visitor. The noise of happiness intruded even further when the whistling gave way to a full-bodied chortle. Not quite a guffaw and a bit more self-respecting than a giggle. A deep manly chortle preceded the entrance of their erstwhile visitor.
"Ah, to see you all here, and in such a peaceful coexistence. Pity you couldn't do it while you were all alive. Then again, maybe not." The chortle had finally given way to sarcasm, identifying the happy soul to any who may have still wondered who would invade their rest. Ares continued in the same vein. "Mark you, family mine, I am the barer of some glad tidings... to some of you at the very least." He dissolved into raptures of good humour. He looked around him; he didn't know who was laid out where, everyone had had to move to make room for the latecomers. "Now, where are you?" he asked aloud moving from sarcophagus to sarcophagus, checking the seals to see who was within.
"There you are, mother dearest, I didn't see you in the crowd." The dark haired God sat down, back resting on the side of his mother's sarcophagus. "I wanted to talk to you, and hey, finally I can and you can neither walk out on me nor answer back! Isn't this just perfect?" Again, he laughed, but this time it had more than a touch of malice creeping in. "Oh, the things I have to share, such mother/son secrets. I hope the rest of you lot will respect our privacy here." Ares scanned the stone edifices nearest to his mother's with a look composed of equal parts mirth and malice.
"See, mother, so many of us died that we were in such a quandary. What to do for best, for us the Gods, for them the mortals. Not forgetting Xena the bitch that put a lot of you in here!" Ares' happy tone slipped slightly. "But as acting King of the Gods I made an executive decision and gave Aunt Demeter a free hand with Xena." The laughter bubbled up again. "Remind me to never get Aunty Dee mad with me, ok?"
For many minutes the only sound in that quiet grave cavern was that of the happy War God's delighted laughter.
"Aunty Dee's solution was simplicity itself. See, she altered only one cell in Xena's body. Just the one cell and it's now breeding and spreading like wild fire throughout her entire body. She's dead, only she doesn't know it yet. Her death grows within, where even she can't do a thing about it. She goes on in her blind, ignorant way. And any day now the pain will start, and it will grow, and grow, and fester. No healer will be able to stop it. There is nothing she can do... oh, but the best bit. Damn, but the best bit is that Aunty Dee did the same to her bastard daughter, only she did it to her first!" The laughter returned, growing, rolling around the cavern walls, like a flame, touching the residents with its warmth.
"She's going to have to watch her beloved Eve die first knowing that that inglorious slow death is exactly what lies in store for her too. Every agonising moment of it." Ares had to wipe the tears from his face as he laughed hysterically. Reaching out he let his tears dry into his mother's tomb.
"And to make matters worse, if they could possibly get any worse for Xena that is, she'll die knowing you all have returned. Well, as many of you as we can get reborn in time." Again, he rolled side to side with his pent up mirth. "That's what I came to tell you mother. You're going to be reborn, soon!"
Slowly, calm and quiet fell once more, blanketing the crypt from reality. Ares stopped laughing, stopping talking, the only sound was his quiet, rhythmic breathing.
"Aunty Dee figured out a way to make all of us pregnant. See what I mean about not wanting her to get pissed with me?" Ares' irrepressible laughter was back, full force. "Okay, I readily admit I'm currently carrying one of you lot too, but it's so sweet a revenge I can handle it. I'm pregnant, Demeter is, Dite is, Cupid is too and best of all, even..." It was obviously too much and the laughter made the lateral move back to hysteria and not a further word was uttered for some time.
"Ok, I can do this!" Ares shouted out in his most commanding voice. "Me and all the rest and..."
He couldn't do it.
He could laugh however, which he did, until he was almost sick with laughing.
"Hercules!" He finally gasped out, dissolving once more into helpless paroxysm of laughter.
"Herc is pregnant too, and not happy." The mental image of his half brother standing before him, hands on hips uttering his counterpart's famous 'not happy' line brought fresh gales of laughter. The War God, King of the Gods pro temp, could not control his mirth.
"He's having to do it entirely in the boring old corporeal way of course, him not being a real god. He thought his demi god state would be enough to save him from the wrath of Aunty Dee. Idiot! She hates him as much as she ever hated dad. She made him, and the rest of us, fruitful - and that's the way she said it too! We shall all be fruitful, she said and I had this mental picture of all of us looking like apples and bananas and what have you. Herc was this giant cherry and I so wanted to bite him. Get it? Bite him as a cherry, bite HIS cherry? Oh, never mind, you never did have any sense of humour where I was concerned did you?" Ares stood up, using the side of his mother's tomb as a lever to help him to his feet. He looked around him at the cold stone resting places of his family's corporeal forms. Without those forms they could not survive outside the so called Pit of Tatarus. Beings of such incredibly powerful spirit, lost for the flesh and blood bodies they needed to house themselves.
"We don't yet know who is carrying who." His now quiet voice echoed around the crypt, not directed solely at his mother. "We'll be finding that out soon enough when the sigils start forming on our flesh. Herc's will be first... he's so pissed that the rest of us only look pregnant when we choose to. Granted, once the sigils appear we'll have to finish the term as big as him, but until then..." Ares chuckled quite malevolently at the thought of tormenting his half brother.
"I do hope that brother dearest is carrying you, mother. Such a delicious irony would make the perfect sweet sauce to you two constantly vying to defeat each other. I think Cupid is hoping he carries either Deimos or Strife. But I have the suspicion that Dite carries both of them. She's carrying twins, as is Aunty Dee. They are females, after all, and are designed for this shit. Herc, Cupid and me can manage only the one each, and that took a lot of power manipulation." His voice drifted off once more as he viewed the memories of the night Demeter made their babies.
"Herc and I cross fertilised - and that's Aunty Dee's terminology, not mine - we did each other. Herc had to do Cupid, I couldn't. He's my son for all our sakes, the very idea left me in a cold sweat!" He shuddered almost uncontrollably. "Me and Herc had to masturbate each other, the looks on Herc and Aunty Dee's faces as she explained why it had to be mutual but not penetrative, man, were they a picture." The laughter was back, the War God's most wicked bark of humour echoed all around him. "Although I did have to do Dite, which is never so bad, I had to do Demeter too. It is a weird experience fucking your aunt where your dad had fucked; in an attempt at resurrecting said fucking dad no less!" The laughter gave way to growls of pure disgust.
"I went back to Herc and he and I tried our very best to take the memory away. We've grown quite close, Herc and I. He had never lain with a man before me, not even his beloved Iolaus. I have to admit I was shocked, I had firmly believed that they two had been at it like rabbits all these years. Seems Iolaus had been with Jason in their youth, but no one wanted to risk embarrassing Herc by asking and getting a broken neck by way of a no thank you. He's thirty five weeks through the cycle and is still as randy as... well, me." Ares sank back to sit by his mother's sarcophagus, sitting quietly, thinking.
"He found me under a water fall last week. Well, in the waterfall really. I was covered in blood, had been helping with a battle repelling the Roman's at Corinth's border. Old King Iphicles' troops did very well. Of course with Iphicles being too damn old to fight these days Herc ellected me as his substitute. Anyway, I'd got myself covered in gore so I went to the waterfall in your garden to wash off. You're dead and don't need it after all. The Nymphs and Nyads were helping to scrub my... back when Herc turns up waddling and glowing. Not the old crap about 'oh you're glowing with my baby within' rubbish. No, this was the glow that said 'prepare yourself, I'm gonna rip you a new asshole!' Not only was I not showing my pregnancy, again, I was naked, again, with all those soft, feminine hands... helping me, again." Ares recalled in detail his brother's face.
"He does jealousy at the level of an art form."
"He's also rather sexy when that worked up. He joined me and I pounded into him!" He glanced at the current resting place of his mother's last corporeal form. "All right, I pounded gently then showed him what I look like corporeally - fat, basically. I tried my damnedest to explain it to him, that if I don't have to show that huge lump then I don't see why he should expect me to. His argument is that he doesn't see why he should be left to suffer alone! Don't you just hate that kind of emotional blackmail? Especially when it works. I agreed to showing my development while with him, hence why I'm hiding here." The laughter was back and Ares' hidden purpose revealed. Not that a single member of his audience could speak against him.
A new sound drifted down the stairway; it might have been the dying cries of some poor soul struck down in mortal combat, or the animalistic howl of someone in the strong throws of passion. Or it might just have been Hercules finally tracking down his missing brother.
"Shit, he's found me," Ares whispered, and glowed as he used his power to change his form. No longer in his accustomed and preferred tight black leather, he now let a crimson silk robe flow over his distended form. "No letting on I wasn't like this all along, ok?" He turned to face the loud clumping footfalls as Hercules descended the stairs.
"Has something happened?" Ares' concerned voice called up to the openly wheezing hero's ears.
"Yeah, see for yourself!" Came the gasping response.
Finally, the distended belly entered the room first, followed immediately by a grinning, but puffed, Hercules. He pulled open his robe and showed Ares the dark brown mark that coloured his belly, leading down to his pubic hairline.
"The first sigil." Ares traced the image and despite his best efforts he couldn't stop the laugh that bubbled up. This was even better than he dreamed. Strife couldn't have done better. Having killed him, he was going to give him life again. "You're carrying father." Was all he managed to say. Hercules' face spoke volumes about his opinion on hearing that piece of news. It was a picture that Ares was sure he'd never forget.
"What about you then?" Hercules challenged. The annoyance in his face gave way to naked lust when Ares opened his robe, showing his distended belly and prominent erection.
"Trace it," Ares whispered, breathing in sharply at Hercules' fingers drew lightly on his bulging belly.
"Are you paying attention?" Hercules laughed, but cupped his hand over Ares' always eager cock.
"Damn right I'm paying attention. You've grabbed my attention after all, right there, just like that." Ares smiled up at his brother. "Trace it again."
Hercules did as he was asked. And was spell bound at the look of absolute concentration on Ares' face. The hero laughed softly and leaned in to quickly kiss Ares when his brother laughed in response.
"Your attention, so that's what you call it?" Hercules returned to the task at hand, he retraced the sigil over Ares' belly.
"Could be," Ares whispered back. "No wonder I was drawn here." Ares looked down at his mother's former resting place and touched the bulge in his belly. "Welcome back mother. This time I'm the parent, and you the child."
Ares hooked an arm through Hercules' nearest arm, and guided him to the foot of the stairs.
"So, Herc, what's your ideas on child discipline?"
Their quiet conversation left those left behind in the dreams of death to wonder if they were luck or unlucky to not be the children of Ares and Hercules.