Summary: Growing up and falling in love, Strife style.
Warning: Mentions of rape.
Rec Expl.: This is a lovely story that deals with who Strife really is. It deals with his emotions, it deals with the trouble he unerringly brings about, it deals with the relationships he has with and in the mortal and the Olympian world. Strife’s parentage is also discovered and Strife finds out that the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ has a solid foundation. This fic is a beauty and unique in many ways. The things that are common in fanon are written exquisitely and never once will you get bored when reading it.
"You forgot this." Strife held out the dagger.
"No I didn't. That's for you."
"Huh?" It was Hephaestian, Strife could easily feel that. He felt a lot more though, like how absolutely perfect it seemed in his hand, how the metal itself felt like it *belonged* in his grasp. A weapon this special couldn't be meant for him. But Cupid's words said differently.
"I had Heph make that for you. Your daggers are pretty cool, but it's about time you had something more...personal to use."
Strife's weapons were all from his Uncle Heph, of course, but they were just general things. Daggers that Hephaestus had made in quantity without any special properties to them. Ares had picked up a few dozen of them some years back for use in weapons practice and he'd let Strife choose three from the pile.
This dagger, it was most definitely not one of many or general in any way. There was no fancy decoration to it, just a set of wicked prongs near the base of the blade that would do major damage when twisted in a wound. They weren't large enough to hinder any slashing motions though. It would be a beauty to use. And it already felt like a part of him, just from being held a few minutes. The metal seemed to speak to him on some level, like the weapon was almost sentient in some way. It would respond to him far better than any blade he'd ever wielded, every instinct told him that. It was perfect.
"Thank you," he said quietly, letting a finger slide up the blade. He didn't wince when his skin was sliced open, just watched in fascination as his blood began to drip down the blade. It was the proper way to greet such a lovely weapon, to make it his. He knew that from his connection to War. Bringing his wounded finger to his mouth, he licked it once to seal the wound, then sucked on it a bit to remove the excess blood.
Eyes still on the blade, on his blood coating it, he didn't see Cupid, just heard his sudden in-drawn breath. Alerted to something outside of his new, absolutely wonderful blade, Strife looked up. He'd thought to find the twins causing problems again or something that might've concerned Cupid, but he didn't see anything wrong. In fact, Cupid was watching him. His cousin's hazel-green eyes had darkened considerably and his gaze was so intent it snapped Strife out of his focus on his dagger.
"What's wrong?" he asked curiously. Cupid had enough of War in him that he'd probably done the same thing when he got his crossbow, so what was so weird about Strife doing it?
"Believe me, Strife, there's absolutely nothing wrong with you." That tone was strange, deeper than normal and it sent delightful little shivers straight through Strife.
Fuck. He couldn't let Cupid see what his voice alone could do. Looking away, back down at his blood stained dagger, Strife somehow conjured up one of his usual smirks. "Cool that you think so, cuz. And thanks for this. It's just...perfect." He carefully wiped the blood from the blade onto his leather pants. It wasn't a proper cleaning, but it wasn't meant to be either. He had a feeling the dagger would be seeing use soon and the first time he wielded it, it should be with traces of his own blood still on it. "So, we ready?"
"I keep thinking so, but seems like I'm still in a different reality here."
Strife looked up at him with a frown. Cupid had lost that strange expression and now he just looked kind of frustrated. What was going on? Strife heard a low chuckling from behind him and realized that Ares was finding something very amusing. This was weird and it was time to clear out.
"Where're we going, cuz?" he prompted, sliding the dagger under his belt.
Cupid shook his head with a long-suffering sigh. "Little skirmish, just outside of Eion."
Eion? That wasn't all that far from Amphipolis, Xena's hometown. Did that mean this had something to do with her? That would certainly have required clearance from Ares. Before he could ask though, Cupid disappeared. Strife quickly followed, Ares' chuckles still sounding in his ears.