I Made Joxer The Mighty.
Jace called on all his theater experience as he walked into Aphrodite's temple, using it to change his walk and drop his affected accent as he walked up to the main altar. "Grandmother!" he shouted, his voice clear and strong. "You *will* remove this curse from us or I will bring this temple down!" He stomped his foot.
He walked off to the side and grabbed a four-foot metal candleholder. As he swung it, he sent his most evil, vile, despicable thoughts to the Love Goddess. The crack of the metal against the stone was loud in the deserted temple.
Still no answer.
He picked up another one, slightly taller. "If you don't remove this curse, I'll make your life as wretched as you've made mine!" He hefted the solid metal pole. "It was an unfair punishment and I *refuse* to live under this curse anymore!" He swung it, cracking the altar on the right side. A large chunk fell onto the floor, narrowly missing his foot.
Still no answer.
"I will find the most diseased person and bring them to every orgy until all of your people die from it!" He grabbed the arm of a statue and pulled. He looked around the ornate main room, heading for some dyed wall hangings to rip down. "I will make sure that you won't be worshiped in Greece; you'll be as popular as Hades at one of Demeter's Spring festivals of sowing. I'll turn all your worshipers into Cupid's and give him all your offerings. You will *die* before I live another day under this curse!" He pouted. "My brother, another man you cursed unfairly, knows where the Hind's Blood dagger is and he *will* give it to me because we *all* hate you for this curse!"
"Chill already," Aphrodite sighed as she appeared. She looked him over. "I doubt Joxie's going to do any such thing. Or you either," she sneered. "Sucks to be you, but you dissed me."
"We were *eight*!" he screamed. "We didn't know who you were, especially since you were in a disguise!" He snorted as he looked over her outfit. "Take this curse off us, you evil tramp."
She shook her head. "Not a chance. You're stuck for your short, pitiful life."
"I call upon Justice!" Jace screamed as he crushed a clay token in his hand.
A goddess appeared, glancing around at the mess as she finished solidifying. "Who calls?"
"I do," Jace announced. "She cursed my triplet brothers and I at the age of eight for her own crime and refuses to take it off. We demand justice."
Justice looked at the Goddess of Love. "Really?"
Dite flipped her hair back over her shoulder. "He and his brothers dissed me, it was totally fair."
"What our grandmother fails to remember is that we were eight, she was in disguise, and even her high priest didn't recognize her when he shoved us into her, which was why we were cursed." He took a deep breath. "She cursed my brother, my eight-year-old brother, to fall in love with any woman who was nice to him. As it worked through our birth bond, my other brother was doomed to torture anyone in his lover's life. I was cursed to give myself to anyone who propositioned me." He spat at Aphrodite's feet. "Such a lovely grandmother to her infant relatives."
Aphrodite laughed. "You aren't one of mine."
"No, one of mine," a male voice said as he appeared behind Justice.
"Cupid," Jace sighed. "Please, help us. I know you feel horrible about what was done to Joxer, at least, if not one of your most loyal worshipers." He looked down at himself. "If this curse continues, I won't last longer than getting my revenge."
Cupid smiled. "Sure." He looked at his mother. "Take it off," he demanded, spacing the harshly spat words out. He smiled again. "Or I'll help him in his plans."
Justice cleared her throat. "Was that the circumstances as you know them, Cupid?"
Aphrodite crossed her arms over her ample bosom. "I was disguised, Hephie and I were playing a game." She glared at Jace. "Even if I take it off, *you'll* never find love again."
Cupid shoved her. "Bet me."
Justice waved a hand and two identical men appeared. They both opened their mouths but she raised a hand and they stopped. She searched them, frowning at the proof before her. "Take it off," she ordered. "I accept the proof and find you guilty, you are now under my aegis."
Joxer stopped forward. "We're going to be free?" Justice nodded so he looked at Cupid. "What about the other curse she laid on me?"
Cupid shrugged. "There's no other curse." Joxer frowned. "There's no other curse, dude, that was all you." Joxer's face fell and Cupid walked over to give him a hug. "We'll work on that problem," he promised. "Son."
Jett cleared his throat. "Problem?"
"Yeah, um, Joxer kinda killed someone by accident," Cupid admitted. He shrugged at the amused look on the assassin's face. "She had a heart attack during sex."
"Well, *that* won't be a problem for any of them," Aphrodite promised as she waved a hand, taking off the curse while trying to recurse them with impotence.
Cupid blocked it and released his boys totally, making sure she'd never touch them again. He let the wiggling Joxer go so he could take off the armor.
Justice smiled. "I have to ask, what's with the tin?" She sent a restraining bolt at Aphrodite, keeping her not only there, but harmless.
Joxer grinned. "The curse made me act like whatever the woman who was nice to me wanted me to be. For the last one, I ended up acting, looking, and becoming harmless, asexual, and sweet." His grin got naughtier. "That's not me, but the curse wouldn't let me be myself, even when I was alone, until another woman remade me." He ran a hand over his stomach, which he hadn't really felt in a few months. "I've become quite a good actor, I don't even scream at myself any more." He bounced over to hug Jace. "We're free! We're free! She can't ever manipulate the curses anymore! No more flinching at bells!"
Cupid's mouth fell open. "Oh, really?" He looked at his mother. "Is that how you won that bet?" She waved a hand, looking bored. "Justice, can you look into that for me? She made a major bet with me then cheated."
Justice stepped between them. "I will hear more of this before I will formally charge her. You will come to my hall." She smiled at the boys. "Enjoy your freedom." She grabbed her criminal and disappeared with her.
Jett licked his lips as he pulled his hands from behind his back so everyone could see the heart resting in his hands. "Can you put me back? I left my tools there. I should probably clean up before someone comes looking for her."
"Strife!" Cupid shouted. The God of Mischief appeared, sitting in mid-air with his legs crossed. "Can you help my boy? I've got to go ream my mother out."
Strife slowly grinned. It all made sense now. "Sure. Which one?"
"Me first," Jett requested, holding out the heart. "I've got two stops. One to clean up, the other to find someone to help me get back what was taken from me last month."
Strife chuckled as he burned the heart in a bright flash. "Not many mortals woulda kept hold of it. Good job." He grabbed Jett and left with him.
Joxer looked at Jace. "Can I borrow some man-clothes?"
Jace smirked. "Of course. We'll make you beautiful." He wrapped an arm around his brother's waist. "Where are you going now?"
"Somewhere far from Xena," Joxer admitted with a grin. "I'd like to find my life. Fighting is great, and now that I'm free and can use my actual skills it's even better, but I'd like to find some fun too."
Strife reappeared. "Hey, fun I can find ya," he promised. He winked at them. "Market. Sunset." The boys nodded. "Cool. Later! I gotta go spy." He disappeared again.
Jace squeezed Joxer's waist. "So, why the boy-clothes? You'd look *divine* in a dress I have in my trunk."
Joxer shook his head. "No dresses. I hate the undergarments. I don't see how women do it." They walked out of the ruined temple together, each planning on how to make Aphrodite's life miserable for doing that to them. They looked at each other and laughed. "Orgy?" he suggested.
Jace smiled brilliantly. "I think I'd like that. But I have to find someone first. She's traveling with us right now." He led the way to the wagons the troop was using, letting Joxer get into his first. "Mary!" he yelled. "Get ready, we're going to have some fun!" He climbed in to help his brother find some appropriate clothing. "Joxer, not that," he called. "It's sickening. Try the green. Or the cream. Anything but the red!"
Strife watched from Olympus as Jace and his friend walked into one of Aphrodite's temples for the orgy, starting to snicker. He knew what was wrong with that woman, and Aphrodite was going to *regret* messing with her grandsons.
Cupid appeared behind him, watching it all. "I've got to remember to put the virus checkers back on the doors," he noted. He shrugged when Strife looked up at him. "We get some people who switch between them." He grinned. "Mom's having to admit what she did in front of Hera. I won the bet after all, Justice said so. Mom's *livid*." He flopped down next to Strife, creating another viewing portal to checking on Joxer. "Hey, she won't die," he said happily.
"How did he do that?" Strife asked.
"Not really sure," Cupid admitted. "All he told me was that he spent a lot of time making her happy, then she started to feel bad. He said he offered to stop, but she made him continue. Apparently she came and had her heart stop." He wrapped an arm around Strife's shoulders. "Do I have to give you a lecture about how you treat my boys?"
Strife shrugged the arm off. "No. I'm not gonna harm 'em. Just give them some fun. Joxer wanted some fun." He pouted. "Don't you think that he deserves it after followin' around Xena?"
Cupid smiled. "Sure I do. I believe he deserves a medal after what Gabrielle's mind made him into. I even think that you and I should do something about them. But I don't want him hurt." His smile got brighter. "And if he kills another person, that'd probably hurt him really badly."
Strife nodded. "Point. Can I tell Unc?"
"Hey, he's been waiting for this moment," Cupid reminded him. "Go for it. I want to see that."
Strife disappeared and the portal watching Jace retuned to Ares' tent on the battlefield. "Hey, Unc, those three guys finally got that curse removed from Aphrodite's own hand."
Ares looked at him. "Who?"
"Let's see. Killer, cursed ta torture those who bother his lovers? Actor, cursed ta whore ta anyone who asks? Warrior, cursed ta walk around in that ridiculous armor until another woman was nice ta him and changed him again?"
Ares slowly smiled. "Really?" Strife nodded. "Has she been charged?"
"Jace got smart and called on Justice. She got the pink one good." He smirked. "'Dite even had ta admit what she did ta Hera, who's probably still yellin'." He nodded at the plans. "Joxer wants ta go have some fun tanight, after the orgy he's in."
Ares licked his lips. "Tell him I'd like to see him once he's done having *fun*," he ordered. "Make sure that Xena hears *all* about it too." He sneered. "I want to see her face."
"Deal!" Strife agreed. He disappeared to go to Joxer and find out what the mortal wanted to do next. He had some things in mind, but he'd need to see whether or not the warrior was up to it first.
Ares smiled and went back to his plans. "Finally," he muttered. "Hopefully all that time in that armor didn't kill his skills."
Xena looked at Gabrielle, who was reading a newspaper/gossip paper from Athens. "Anything good?" she asked finally. It was handed to her in silence. Xena read through the few articles, ending up on the bottom one. One about a warrior who was the talk of Athens and the surrounding lands. A suave, mature, confident warrior who was not only sleeping his way through the town, but was amusing everyone with his tales. There were even allegations of three murders, one from a duel, the other two from something less...sinister. She looked at her friend and handed it back. "So?"
"That's Joxer," Gabrielle told her quietly. "The man who had brought the scrolls to the outer villages had met him and told me who it was." She bunched the scroll up. "It was all an act."
Strife appeared, Joxer clinging to his side, and they were both laughing. "Not!" Strife sneered. "It was all Aphrodite's thing. She cursed him to become whatever a woman who was nice to him wanted. Apparently *you* want a worthless schmuck who trips and falls on top'a ya and who bugs ya daily." He broke out in more laughter. "Joxer, wanna go snuggle and watch that one asshole burn Aphrodite's temple?"
"Sure," Joxer purred. He grinned at Xena. "It was a really horrible curse. Unfortunately, I ran into Gabrielle before I ran into Callisto; her pity was close enough to interest and it would have made me a better warrior than you did, and it probably would have been easier to have fun in it too. Before that, I was working with Meg, she was the *best*." He winked. "Gotta go. Aphrodite's in for a roast." He snuggled into Strife's side and winked at her.
"But...but the bell!" Gabrielle complained.
"Yeah, she was manipulatin' the curse," Strife told her. "That other Joxer was closer, but nothin's better than the real thing." He stroked over Joxer's ass as they disappeared.
Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other, the Warrior Princes wondering why her friend wanted someone so ineffective, Gabrielle wondering why this happened to her. Gabrielle walked along, wondering if that could be true. All she wanted was a man who was strong, followed along behind her, always listened to her, and told her she was right. She stopped dead on the road and looked at her companion. "I made Joxer the Mighty," she said, looking and sounding horror- struck.
On Olympus, everyone laughed. Except Aphrodite, she was having a public relations problem after having everyone at three of her orgies get some sort of illness. She was pouting in her temple. She would get back at her son for this, she really would.