One day, in back of Ares' main temple…
Strife moodily sat on the steps, throwing pebbles at a bush.
"STRIFE! STRIFE!" Ares bellow echoed through the building.
"Out here, Unc." Strife called back.
Ares looked at his woebegone nephew's face and sat down next to him. "What's wrong?"
"They called me ugly."
"Some of the KSA listsibs. They kept on talking about how ugly I was next to Iphicles." Strife hunched in closer to himself. His face crumpled, "N-nobody l-likes m-m-me!" He wailed.
Ares found himself at a loss. Tentatively, he wrapped an arm around Strife. "Now don't fret, that's just part and parcel of the abuse we take from fan fiction writers. It doesn't mean anything. Have you seen some of the shit they put me through?" Strife sniffled and leaned closer to listen. " They have had me do the soft and mushy bit with every Mary Sue that came along. Tormented me just because I got a haircut. And made me dress-up as Ares GOL!" Ares looked indignant. "And I'm not the only one." He waved a hand and the back garden suddenly became very crowded.
Hercules emerged from the crowd, "Alright Ares, what's this all about?"
Ares indicated his red-eyed nephew. "Strife is upset with the abuse from the fan fiction writers. I thought it might help if he knew he wasn't alone."
Hercules glanced at Iolaus and grimaced. "I can remember several particularly humiliating incidents. I got turned into a 6 year old with Xena and Ares had to baby-sit."
Iolaus piped in, "Don't forget the hamster!"
Hercules groaned, "Don't remind me."
Ares dangled a small brown rodent in front of Herc's face. "You mean this one?" Little Kev's beady black eyes glared menacingly at the demi-god.
"YAAAAHHHHH! Get that thing away from me!" Hercules screeched as he practically climbed Iolaus in a panic. Strife stifled a small giggle.
Iolaus narrowed his eyes, "Hey War God, BAAAAAA!" He grinned evilly. "You DO remember the sheep?"
Ares pushed a finger into Iolaus's chest. "Don't even go there."
Iphicles joined the discussion, "Everytime, and I do mean everytime I get my hair done all I hear is 'he dyed it some fluorescent color.' Really, not that it's anyone's business, but I had a bad reaction to the soap." He eyed Strife suspiciously, "I wonder HOW that could have happened?" Strife looked up at him with innocent eyes brimming with laughter. "You wouldn't know anything about it, would you?"
Strife sincerely shook his head no.
Caesar clanked in and dropped his chains and manacles. "Fuck, look what they did to me! Just because I like to play a 'little' rough, they labeled me as this sadistic fiend."
Ares coughed, covering up a laugh, "I hate to tell you this, but you are a sadistic fiend."
Joxer piped in, "Hello, what about me? They can't decide if I'm totally innocent, or the world's best lay. Not only that, they've had me shack up with almost everyone in Greece…."
"You're not alone there," Iolaus muttered.
"…except for Timon and Falafel." The group gave a collective shudder. Strife slid weakly off the steps, helpless with laughter.
"Maybe a couple of listsibs were cruel, but look at what the rest of us have to put up with too. You get a lot of great scenes, steady time with Cupid, fun with me, occasionally Joxer or Autolycus too. I think you get beat up, raped and tortured less than any of the rest. I think you come out pretty good overall." Ares ran his fingers through Strife's hair. "It's really too bad they can't see how special you are… how malleable."
"How nicely that white skin reddens when spanked," Caesar added, moving closer to Strife.
"How sweet," Joxer ran a caressing hand down Strife's back cupping his buttocks.
"How willing," Hercules lifted Strife into his lap.
"How silky, " Iphicles parted the fasteners and feathered his fingers over the exposed skin.
Hands petted and explored Strife until he wasn't sure what was going on. He wasn't sure he wanted to know.
"Help…" he whispered.
"Oh yeah," breathed Iolaus, bending his head to taste the alabaster skin.