The characters of Ares, Strife, and Hercules belong to Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story contains scenes of graphic consensual sex between a man and a woman. If you are under 18, or this is illegal where you live, please read no further.
Sequel to The Americanization of Ares and The Brass Jar Parts I and II.
You can find more stories by JinXavier at Hercules After Dark
Send feedback to JinXavier@aol.com
The God of War Takes a Holiday
Jessica Albritton stretched luxuriously as she woke from a lovely dream of a beautiful city resting on top of the clouds. She glanced at the clock and groaned. Another Monday. Time to get up and head for the museum. She yawned hugely, and then a slow grin crossed her face. She didn't have to go to the museum anymore. She didn't have to go ANYWHERE if she didn't want to. Her life had altered dramatically since the day she'd stolen that brass jar away from Otus in Dallas, Texas.
She glanced over and was unsurprised to find that the bed beside her was empty. Ares slept rarely. She wondered sometimes if that was normal for gods or if he was just trying to make up for lost time after being imprisoned for so long. Another question she needed to ask him, although for some reason, all her questions seemed to disappear from her brain whenever she was close to him. Ares always made it very hard for her to concentrate on anything except him.
Jess slid out of bed and ran her fingers through her long night-black curls as she yawned again. She needed coffee! She wandered down through the mansion that Ares had obtained for them, heading for the front hall and the newspaper that should be there by now. As she passed the huge room that had become Ares' personal entertainment Mecca, however, Jess heard the unmistakable sound of sobbing. She stopped in her tracks, then backed up to see what was going on.
The television was on, and the god Strife sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the flickering screen, tears streaming down his face. He had forsaken his usual patched leather for jeans and a black T-shirt, but so far, he hadn't taken Jess' advice about trying out a tanning bed. His face was still ghostly pale, and his dark hair simply enhanced the pastiness of his features.
"What's wrong, Strife?" she asked, concerned. She'd never seen him like this before.
"It's so sad," he wailed, pointing to the screen.
Jess walked over to see that Strife was replaying his copy of the Hercules episode "Armageddon Now." He had paused the videotape at the scene where Ares, God of War, cradled the dead body of the godling Strife in his arms.
Jess sighed. "I should never have shown you how to use the VCR," she said. "Why do you keep torturing yourself? It's kind of sick watching yourself die over and over, you know."
Strife sniffed haughtily. "That's not what I'm crying about."
Jess' forehead furrowed in confusion. "Then what?"
Strife looked back toward the screen and began to sob again. "Just look," he wailed. "Look at how he's holding me. He really DOES love me."
"Oh, good grief," Jess muttered. "Strife. Listen to me. THAT IS FICTION. It's not real. You're not dead, dummy. Callisto was a nymph. She never killed you. And that's not Ares either. It's an actor. Geesh, you guys drive me nuts sometimes."
"It's still beautiful," Strife said with another sniff. "Did you see that? I think I saw a tear." He sighed deeply and looked at her. "Do you think he'd really be that upset if I died?"
Jess hid a grin and nodded solemnly. "I'm sure he would, Strifey. If he didn't love you a little, he certainly wouldn't let you hang around."
The godling was obviously recovering from his bout of weepiness, because Jess noticed that his gaze had begun to wander up and down her body in a most irritating fashion. She glanced down to see that she still wore the T-shirt that she slept in most nights. It had begun its life as a black God of War T-shirt, but Ares had altered it somehow, so that now instead of Kevin Smith's face, it showed the god's TRUE face. In addition, Callisto and Xena had vanished. He'd left the skulls, though. He rather seemed to like the effect of his face surrounded by grinning skulls.
Jess glanced back up. Strife's gaze was fixed on her bare legs with almost unhealthy fascination. "Keep looking," she warned, "and Ares will pull your beady little eyes right out of their sockets and have them for breakfast."
Strife jumped, and his face seemed to pale a little bit more if that was possible. "Sorry," he muttered, then turned back to the television and hit the rewind button on the remote. Unlike Ares, Strife always used the remote control rather than his powers to operate the VCR and television. Of course, it was possible that he hadn't even thought of the idea. Strife wasn't terribly bright sometimes.
"What's that?" Jess said suspiciously as she noted a new addition to the room. On the opposite side of the television sat a brand new Nintendo game system, two controllers, and about a million game cartridges.
Strife glanced over, and a vaguely guilty expression crossed his face. "Uncle Ares said I could have it," he assured her sullenly.
Jess sighed. Oh well, maybe it would keep the little godling busy and out of her hair.
"Where's your uncle anyway?" she asked.
Strife shrugged. "I have no idea." He settled back down in front of the tube, his eyes affixed to the screen as Callisto plunged the knife in again, and Ares rushed to Strife's side. Tears began to slide down the godling's cheeks. "It's just so beautiful," he whispered.
Jess shook her head ruefully and left the room to go locate her newspaper. As usual, it was lying on the hall table, but when she picked it up, the front page had a gaping hole in the middle of it. What the hell?
"Strife!" she yelled. "What happened to the newspaper?"
There was a moment of silence, and then the godling popped his head out of the den. He eyed the paper, then shrugged. "I dunno," he said. "I never read the newspaper." He pulled his head back in, and after a moment, Jess heard the tape start up again.
She carried the butchered paper into the kitchen and read the remainder after she'd fixed herself a cup of coffee. She found another smaller hole on the sixth page, but she didn't have the slightest idea what might have caused it. The edges of the missing sections looked curiously singed.
Jess flipped on the small radio in the kitchen to listen to the news there, but nothing happened. She checked to make sure that it was plugged in, and it was. She ran through the stations, but she couldn't even hear static. She picked the thing up and shook it, and it rattled ominously inside as if all the parts were lying at the bottom of the case. What in the hell was going on here?
She didn't even bother to quiz Strife. The godling was obviously clueless about what was going on in this house. She went back upstairs to the bedroom and took a quick shower, then dressed in a pair of denim shorts and a light blue chambray shirt. She flicked on the television in the bedroom, but again she got no response. She sat down on the edge of the bed and stared at the blank screen. Okay, something was definitely up. And she'd bet a million dollars that she knew exactly who was behind all these odd goings-on.
She went into the hallway and cocked her head, listening. She knew that Ares was close by. She could always feel when he was near. Faintly, she heard a light clacking sound. She concentrated, and finally she decided that she was hearing the sound of fingers typing on a keyboard. So THAT'S where he was. She went to the small room at the end of the hall that she had appropriated for a study, and sure enough, there sat Ares, bent over the keyboard of the new top-of-the-line Dell PC she'd bought.
She stood in the doorway and watched him surreptitiously for a second, struck as always, by how beautiful he was. His hair was even longer then when they'd first met; jet-black curls now tumbled past his shoulders. His body was any woman's dream. Wide shoulders, muscular arms, slim waist. Just the sight of him started a parade of erotic images floating past her mind's eye. He must have picked up on her thoughts, because there was a sudden scramble for the mouse as he minimized something, and then he turned to her, a slow sensual smile warming his full lips. He held out his arms, and wordlessly, she went to him. He pulled her onto his lap, and when his lips found hers, it was quite some time before they came up for air.
"What are you doing?" she asked idly after she'd regained her breath. With a small smile, she rubbed her hands over the dark mat of fur on his chest. Ares favored tight blue jeans and button-down shirt, but because he knew of her special affinity for his chest, he rarely bothered to fasten the buttons when they were at home.
"Nothing," he said so quickly that Jess' eyebrow arched.
"Oh, really?" she said skeptically. She peered over his shoulder at the computer. She saw the icon for the modem blinking away and noticed that Netscape was minimized. Jess grinned. "Ares, are you surfing for porn?"
"What's porn?" he asked, perplexed. He rotated the chair around and started for the mouse, but Jess beat him to it. She maximized Netscape, then burst out laughing.
"You're EGOSURFING!" she hooted. Ares had a search engine pulled up in the browser, and he was currently doing a search on God of War.
"I just wanted to see what people on the Internet were saying about me," he said a bit defensively.
Jess sobered quickly. She knew that the weekly slandering of his name on Hercules and Xena bothered him immensely. "So what'd you find?" she asked curiously.
"Well, the mythology pages are pretty dull and boring for the most part," he replied. "Ares was the God of War and the son of Zeus and Hera, yadda yadda yadda. I much prefer the ones about the Ares from the television shows. They're much more interesting, and THOSE people seem to prefer me to my do-gooder brother."
Jess clicked on a link that took her to something called Kevin Smith Online. Line after line was displayed, links to everything on the net about Kevin Smith and Ares, God of War.
"Wow," she said. "I'm impressed. You really ARE popular." She grinned at the main picture on the webpage. It was a casual shot of Kevin Smith that must have been taken at a convention. The actor was clean-shaven, and his shirt was unbuttoned all the way down. "Man, he's got the most awesome chest I think I've ever seen," Jess exclaimed slyly.
Ares pulled her back against him and growled in her ear, "Does he now?"
Jess leaned back and looked up into the god's dark eyes with a grin. "Second most awesome chest I've ever seen," she corrected herself.
"That's better," he said, then kissed her quickly on the ear. He pointed to one of the links. "Go to that one."
Jess clicked on the link, and a webpage displayed with a black background and flames bordering each section. It offered pictures, calendars, and fan fiction, too. It even had her favorite picture, the one that had originally adorned her T-shirt, as an image map.
"I like this one," Ares said. "A few of the stories are quite . . . interesting."
Jess raised an eyebrow at the tone of his voice. "Interesting, huh? Let's just see." She clicked on the fiction link and then onto one of the stories.. She scanned the text quickly. "Oh, my," she said after a moment. "She's got a very good imagination."
Ares chuckled seductively in her ear. "Yes, she does. Go back. Click on this one here." He pointed to one about an Amazon.
Jess scanned that one as well. My, my. Bondage, huh? That definitely had possibilities.
Ares obviously sensed her interest. He hugged her tightly, then whispered in her ear, "Care to try that one out?"
"Later," she said, batting his hands away as they began to move over her body. He laughed softly, then put his chin on her shoulder as she continued to explore the net. There really was a lot of stuff out there about him, and he seemed to relax a little more as each page displayed. She guessed the obvious adoration of fans was soothing to the god's bruised ego.
Jess finally got tired of looking at pages praising the God of War, though, so she pulled up a site of local news. Before the page had loaded completely, however, Ares grabbed the mouse from her hand and shut down Netscape. Unfortunately for the god, she'd seen the headlines before he'd close the page..
She hopped out of his lap and turned on him, her gray eyes stormy with anger.. "What did you do?" she asked. "I knew something was up. You burned those holes in the newspaper, didn't you? What'd you do to the radio and the television?"
Ares shrugged nonchalantly. "I can fix them."
"Did you think I wouldn't find out?" She gave his chair a mighty shove so that it rolled across the room, then double clicked on the Netscape icon and found the page again.
"Studio Head Arrested," screamed the headlines. "B. S. Hollinsfoffer, head of Universal Studios, was arrested yesterday at Camp WannaChuck, a local corporate re-engineering camp. An undercover studio security officer arrested Hollinsfoffer as he was attempting to shoot several key staff members of the television show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, including the show's star, Kevin Sorbo. No one was injured, and Hollinsfoffer has been incarcerated pending trial. Hollinsfoffer's lawyer is demanding psychiatric testing for his client, however, as the man claims that the Greek God of War was assisting him in his endeavors to kill the staff. When quizzed as to why the god was interested in killing these people, Hollinsfoffer explained that Ares was angry about the way his character was being portrayed on the show. The producer of Hercules, Rob Tapert, stated, "They don't need to do any testing. I can tell you right now. Hollinsfoffer is as nutty as a fruit cake." Another source who asked to remain anonymous, however, claims that there is truth to Hollinsfoffer's claim. "Yep, he was there. I saw him. The big bad God of War. He was a sight for sore eyes, I can tell you."
"ARES!" Jess yelled. "I don't believe you! What did you think you were doing?"
The God of War stood and went to the window to stare outside, his arms folded mulishly across his chest. "I want those shows to stop," he declared hotly. "I'm tired of being slandered and ridiculed at every turn." He whirled around, his dark eyes flashing. "I tried it your way. I very politely asked my brother to stop it, and I asked him for merchandising rights."
"What did he say?" Jess asked, striving for patience.
Ares muttered something barely audible.
"What? I didn't hear that."
"He laughed at me and pushed me out of the car, okay?"
Jess fought to keep her face straight. She had yet to meet Sorbo, but some twisted part of her was dying to meet Hercules in the flesh. But if Ares had his way, she would never get within twenty feet of the demigod.
Jess shook her head at her lover's latest escapade. "What were you trying to do at that camp anyway? Sorbo wouldn't help you, so you set Hollinsfoffer up to kill him? How stupid is that, Ares? Even if Sorbo had been shot, it wouldn't have killed him. He's just as immortal as you are."
"Hollinsfoffer was supposed to kill those fools that work for Renaissance," the god flared. "If they were all dead, there'd be no show."
"Wait a minute," Jess said. "You KNOW Hercules is immortal. And you know that he would have done ANYTHING to stop his co-workers from being murdered." She stared at the god as understanding dawned. "You were trying to expose him, weren't you?"
"What if I was?" Ares demanded. "People have a right to know that he's a fake."
Jess sighed harshly. "Oh, Ares. What does it matter? You and Strife take those damned shows much too seriously. Why can't you just ignore them?"
Ares began to pace the room. "How can I ignore them? They're on all the time. Six days a week since USA picked them up. Now they even have that Young Hercules in the afternoons. Like I'd ever waste my time beating up on a little kid. Give me a break."
"At least they gave you a new outfit," Jess pointed out. "A very nice one at that."
Ares turned a scathing look her way. "Well, none of the shows are going to be around much longer," he announced. "I heard that Hercules and Young Hercules may be canceled."
"Where'd you hear that?"
Ares shrugged, and Jess sighed again. "Ares, are you joining mailing lists again? I asked you not to do that. You keep flooding the mailbox."
He expression was so woe-be-gone, though, that she shook off her anger and wrapped her arms around him. "Can't you just forget about it, Ares?" she said softly. "They're just stupid shows, and you know the truth." She stood on tiptoe and gently pressed her lips against his. "Let me help you forget," she breathed.
At first, she didn't think her ploy was going to work, but soon enough, he was returning her kiss with growing passion. His arms tightened around her, and he picked her up so that their faces were on the same level. She encircled his neck with her arms and his waist with her legs as the kiss became deeper still. She broke it at last and began to rain kisses over his beautiful face and down his neck.
Ares sat back down in the chair with her still wrapped around him and quickly undid the buttons on her shirt. His hands slipped inside and unhooked her bra, and his fingers soon found her already turgid nipples. He stroked them until she was moaning from desire, and then he leaned forward and took one lightly between his teeth. His tongue flicked out and brushed across the very tip of the sensitive peak, lighting a fire deep inside her.
Jess pushed his shirt open wider and began to run her hands over his chest. She loved the feel of the steel muscles underneath the silky skin, the softness of the dark mat of hair. She repaid him in kind by bending forward to take one of HIS nipples between HER teeth, and she smiled as she was rewarded with a deep groan.
His fingers began a southerly journey, and she felt him slide one hand into the leg opening of her shorts. His fingers snaked under the elastic of her panties, and she gasped when he lightly brushed against her most sensitive of places. She shifted slightly, urging him on by pressing down on his hand, and he obliged her by inserting one single digit inside her. He tried to caress her, but then he growled in annoyance at the constricting cloth of her shorts and panties. He waved his other hand, and the offending garments disappeared. He inserted his finger completely in her, eliciting a deep moan as he began to move it in and out. Another finger joined in the dance, and then another, and Jess threw back her head in ecstasy as he skillfully brought her to a mind-blowing climax.
Another wave, and his own jeans were gone. He left the shirt, and for some reason, he seemed even sexier to her sitting there with nothing on but his unbuttoned shirt. He picked her up by her hips and moved her over so that she was poised above his member. Jess helped him by wrapping her hand around his long, hard shaft and guiding it to her opening. He let her down and thrust up at the same time, burying himself within her completely in one swift stroke.
"Ares," she moaned as she felt her inner walls stretching to accommodate his size, and as he began to move within her, tears sprung to her eyes from the sheer intensity of the pleasure. His hands on her hips set the rhythm, and each thrust seemed to take him deeper and deeper until she thought he must be touching her very soul. She entangled her hands in the dark locks of his hair, and her lips joined his once again. She poured her feelings for him into the kiss, and as he began to move faster within her, she wrapped her arms around his strong shoulders and held on for dear life. Each thrust caused him to rub against that tiny nub above her opening, and the dual sensations were enough to send her over the edge again. She cried out as she came, and then he was on his feet, still inside her. He lowered her to the floor and began to pound into her. She grabbed on again, digging her nails into his back as he ground into her. At last, with a guttural roar, he slammed home one last time, and she felt the heat of his seed filling her deep inside. He buried his face in her hair, and Jess held him close, whispering her love to him as they both came back down from the lofty heights.
After they'd straightened up from their bout of lovemaking, Jess put together some breakfast as Ares read over the rest of the torn newspaper. He was even humming softly to himself, when suddenly, the tune ceased in mid note. Jess glanced over, and Ares looked up, his eyes gleaming with a light she'd never seen before. He pointed to the paper. "This is it. This is just what I need," he announced. He grinned ferally, then asked, "Have you ever heard of a place called Kosovo?"
Jess hadn't gone with Ares on his mission to Kosovo. She wasn't too crazy about his 'job' anyway, so she just stayed home and puttered around. She still didn't have the house decorated completely, and she was trying to find some more things for their Greek room. Ares had insisted that they have at least one room devoted to his home country, so she was always on the lookout for available artifacts. Ares himself had found several items for the room, including her favorite piece of all, the brass jar that she'd found him in so long ago. She never asked him how he'd spirited it away from the museum in Dallas, but she was certainly glad he had. She loved the painting on that jar. It was such an incredibly perfect rendition of the god she'd grown to love.
Jess was leaning over the kitchen table, studying the ads in the newspaper, when suddenly two large hands covered her eyes. Jess immediately struck back blindly at her attacker, "Strife! You little worm. Get your hands off me!"
She heard a deep chuckle, and she realized that her assailant wasn't Strife. It was Ares!
She turned in his arms. "You're back!" She put her hands around his neck and kissed him deeply. She hoped this war stuff was out of his system for a while. She missed him too much when he was gone this long.
"I brought you a surprise," he said with a grin. He held up two rectangular slips of cardboard for her perusal.
Jess took the slips. "Airplane tickets?" she asked. She read the writing on the tickets. "Florida?" She smiled happily. "Cool. We can go to DisneyWorld."
Ares shook his head and held up two more tickets. Jess took those and studied them. "Creation? What's that?" She read the fine print. "A convention? We're going to a Hercules and Xena convention?"
Ares nodded, and she groaned. "Oh, Ares. Do you really think that's a good idea?"
Ares picked her up and placed her on the tabletop. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her soundly. "You said you wanted to meet the actor who plays me on the shows, so here's your chance. He's going to be there."
"Kevin Smith? Oh, wow!"
Ares chuckled. "Don't get too excited. I'll be there too, remember?"
Jess studied the god carefully. "What about your brother?"
"Nope. He's not going."
Jess looked back down at the tickets, then back up at Ares. "You promise you'll be good?"
He nodded solemnly, and then his eyes began to twinkle. "This is going to be fun. I really need a vacation."
The hotel in Florida was bustling with activity as Jess and Ares made their way to the reception desk. Groups of people, mostly women, stood here and there around the crowded lobby. There was a lot of laughter and high-pitched squealing going on. Jess noticed that Ares received more than his share of once-overs from some of the women in the crowd, and she was careful to keep a proprietary hand on his arm.
She signed them in, and they went upstairs to their room to unpack. Ares flopped down on the bed, a piece of paper in his hand, as Jess began to hang up her clothes.
"Okay," he said. "We have a fan club meeting in the morning. Then our friend is speaking that afternoon. The day after that is the costume contest, and he'll be speaking again that afternoon."
"Fan club meeting?" she echoed, puzzled. "What fan club?"
A rather sheepish expression crossed the God of War's face. "Um, the Kevin Smith fan club," he explained.
Jess turned around and stared at him. "Don't you have to be a member to go to that?"
The god's expression grew even MORE sheepish. "Um, yeah."
"Oh, God," she groaned. "You joined his FAN CLUB?"
Ares shrugged nonchalantly. "Actually, we both did. So what? He's a good actor."
Jess was hit by a sudden attack of the giggles. She was laughing so hard that she ended up on her ass on the floor, unable to catch her breath. Ares watched her with a crooked grin on his face.
"You really are too much," she said once she could talk again.
"Yeah, I am," he agreed amiably. "Trust me, Jess. This is going to be fun!"
They passed an almost sleepless night. Ares always got overly enthusiastic when they had a new bed to try out, not that she was complaining mind. They rose early and dressed, then made their way downstairs for the fan club get together. The room was packed with mostly women, although Jess saw a few men scattered here and there. Ares definitely stood out in the crowd. He was taller than almost everyone, and the outfit he'd worn certainly drew the eye. He was dressed all in black: skin-tight black muscle shirt, black slacks, even black Reeboks. She was glad she'd dressed her best today when she saw some of the lustful looks cast his way. To contrast Ares, she'd worn all white: a white silk blouse with long puffy sleeves and tight white jeans. Of course, she wasn't getting many appreciative looks from the fans, mostly jealous ones!
The murmuring in the room grew louder suddenly, and all heads turned as the guest of honor walked into the room. Jess was very impressed. Even up close, this Kevin Smith was awfully good looking. He was every bit as handsome and muscular as he seemed on television. Jess didn't realize she was staring until Ares squeezed her arm and gave her a warning growl.
After a few words from the actor, the crowd got in line for autographs. Jess burst out laughing when Ares pulled out an 8x10 of the God of War.
"Where'd you get that?" she asked.
"I bought it," he informed her defiantly. "It's my favorite."
Jess examined the picture. Kevin was leaning back against a tree with his arms crossed over his chest. His expression was seductively serious, and the muscles in his arms were absolutely phenomenal. She swallowed convulsively.. "Yeah, that's a good one."
Ares glared down at her and snatched the picture away. "Don't get attached to it," he growled, a clear threat in his tone.
They reached the autograph table at last, and Jess couldn't help but stare. Kevin was even better at closer quarters. He had his shirt buttoned this time, but she could still see quite a bit of dark growth at the base of his throat. Damn, no wonder he had so many fans.
"G'day," he said amiably when Ares' turn came.
The god nodded a regal greeting.
"Who do you want this made out to?" the actor asked.
Ares leaned forward and flashed the man a brilliant smile. "Just sign it 'To: Ares'," he commanded.
Jess' thought the man's eyebrows were going to rise right off his forehead at that request. She clutched Ares' arm and smiled at the actor. "It's a joke for a friend," she explained, digging her nails warningly into the god's arm.
"Oh," Kevin replied. She could tell he was puzzled, and it was obvious that he thought they were both nuts, but he did sign the picture as Ares had requested.
The god took the picture and read the signature, then nodded in satisfaction.. Kevin turned to her expectantly, and with a start, she realized that she had nothing for him to sign. She shrugged, and he flashed her a quick, seductive smile. She almost melted on the spot, until she remembered her companion. Ares was glaring at her and, without a word, he grabbed her arm and dragged her away from the table.
"Cut it out," she complained.
"Stop drooling on the man," Ares snapped.
"Jesus, I wasn't drooling. I simply smiled at him."
"You were drooling," the god insisted petulantly.
Jess sighed. He was right. She had been drooling. But Kevin was just so . . . She dropped that line of thought before Ares completely lost his temper with her. She followed the god out of the room. Oh, well. Let him bitch. After all, this whole thing was HIS idea.
The rest of the day passed quickly. They shopped a bit, watched some videos of bloopers and scenes from the shows set to music, and then they went back to hear the speakers. Kevin was hysterically funny; even Ares laughed at his jokes. The only bad moment came when some idiot asked why the God of War was such a wuss. She thought Ares was going to fry the man on the spot, but luckily, Kevin answered the guy in such an amusing way that the god was appeased.
The next morning, after ANOTHER sleepless night, Jess came out of the bathroom and almost fainted dead away. Ares stood in the center of the hotel room dressed in an exact duplicate of the outfit the God of War had worn in the early episodes of Xena and Hercules. He wore a black leather vest with silver metal decorating the arm openings and neckline, split enough in the front to show a great deal of his muscular chest and the coarse black hair that covered it. The vest was sleeveless and allowed the taunt musculature of his arms to be seen in all its glory. His lower body was encased in tight black leather pants with a belt adorned by a silver ram's head belt buckle. Black boots covered his feet, black leather gauntlets encircled his wrists, and a long sword hung by his side. He looked beautiful and lethal, and Jess had a sudden almost overpowering urge to rip every stitch of clothing from his body and pull him to the floor.
Ares grinned at her reaction. He was obviously able to read her mind because he shook his head and said, "Later, my love. Right now I have a contest to win."
Jess felt the color drain from her face. "Contest?" she echoed faintly. "Ares, please tell me you didn't enter that damned costume contest."
The god's eyes gleamed. "Oh, yes, I did. And I plan to win. If these mortals want to see the God of War in a talent contest, I'll be more than happy to oblige them."
Jess stared at him. Somehow during his stay in Kosovo, the god had obviously managed to catch the Young Hercules episode "The Prize." Personally, she had enjoyed the heck out of that particular show. Kevin Smith had the most delicious singing voice she'd ever heard, and the white jumpsuit he'd worn had been sinfully tight. At one point in the show, he had turned around and shaken his ass for the camera. It had definitely been a memorable episode and obviously, it had made quite an impression on the god.
"But it's not a talent contest. It's a costume contest." she protested. "Do you really think you can win?"
Ares held his arms out wide and looked down at his outfit. "Do you honestly think anyone can beat this?"
Jess had to admit he had a point. He probably WOULD win. He looked more like Kevin Smith than Kevin Smith did! She shook her head ruefully. Why had she ever agreed to come to this convention with him? She really should have known better.
The room where the costume contest was to be held was packed when they arrived. There were people on all side dressed up as everything from Ares to Xena. She saw a rather limp looking Hercules, an extremely cute Iolaus, two goofy looking Joxers, and several Gabrielles. Most of the costumes were obviously handmade, although Jess saw a couple that were very impressive. But none more so than the one her lover wore. Then she saw the judges' table, and with a start, Jess realized that Kevin Smith was a judge for the contest. From the gasps and comments she heard about Ares as he strode through the room, she realized that the god really did stand a good chance of winning.
Each of the contestants was called on the stage and introduced, and when it was Ares' turn, wild applause filled the room. That only made the god strut more, and when they asked his name, he pulled his sword out of its sheath, held it aloft, and ROARED, "I am Ares, God of War." A blast of white light erupted from the tip of the sword, and Jess almost died. God, now they'd have the cops after them! But when the smoke cleared, everyone around her was clapping maniacally. The guy next to her leaned over and said happily, "Great F/X, huh?"
Ares won the contest, of course, and Kevin Smith came on stage to award him the trophy. Everyone was clapping so loudly that Jess couldn't hear, but she saw Ares lean over and whisper something in the actor's ear. Kevin paled a little and backed away, eyeing the winner warily. Ares left the stage and the actor stared after him, an odd mixture of puzzlement and disbelief on his handsome face.
When Jess reached his side, she grabbed Ares' arm and pulled his head down to her level. "What did you say to him?" she hissed.
Ares grinned triumphantly. "I thanked him for portraying me so well with such horrid story lines," he announced. "And I told him he might want to speak to the writers about fixing that little problem or there might be a repeat of the situation with B. S. Hollinsfoffer."
Jess groaned. "God, let's get out of here before they THROW us out," she said.
The rest of the convention flew by with no more mishaps, thankfully, and Jess was relieved when the whole thing was done. In a way, though, she was a little disappointed that their vacation was over so soon. She'd enjoyed the time away from Los Angeles and especially being away from Strife.
But when the time came to check out, Ares was nowhere to be found. He finally appeared, however, his face wreathed in a big grin. He held two more tickets in his hand for her perusal and announced, "Let's go to DisneyWorld!"
Continue on to the sequel The Great Mount Olympus Ambrosia Contest of 1999