Disclaimer: I don't own Strife, Cupid or the series that spawned them for that matter. Just own the fic, so don't sue me.

Pretty on the Outside


It was a simple question and Cupid was entitled to an answer, but that didn't mean Strife was about to give him one at that very moment. Instead, Strife crossed his arms over his chest and silently began slowly circling Cupid, like a vulture closing in on fresh carcass. Cupid didn't turn to follow Strife, he simply stood perfectly still, staring ahead and waiting in the uneasy silence for the answer to the question that had been burning in his mind for the last few days.

Strife reached out and ran a hand over Cupid's shoulder, then down until his fingertips played over the base of Cupid's wing. He smirked to himself as the wing reacted to his touch, fluttering ever so slightly. Strife's touch moved over and then lower, following the God of Love's spine until his fingers pressed against the small of Cupid's back. The touch lingered before following Cupid's hip until Strife was standing to the side of the blond, slowly returning to the front of him. He offered Cupid a smirk that humored the situation. A smirk that said, "I know something you don't know."

"Strife," Cupid said in a deep voice that was supposed to be threatening. Strife laughed it off; Cupid sounded more like a child who wasn't getting his way than a God demanding something.

Strife's hand now played with the hem of Cupid's loincloth, fingers almost daring to dip inside but never going that far. Strife watched his fingers play against the white cloth and tanned flesh before bringing his gaze up to meet Cupid's. The smirk on Strife's lips and the look in his eyes made Cupid shift from one foot to another, breath catching in his throat for a split second.

"Strife," Cupid said again, his hand suddenly on Strife's wrist, stopping the maddening touch. "I asked you a question."

Strife's smirk grew into a grin and he laughed again, pulling his hand free from Cupid's grasp. "Yes, you did," he mused between chuckles and crossed his arms over his chest once more, head canted lazily to the side, "and I'm deciding whether or not I should answer you."


"But you want to know why I've been playing Cat and Mouse with you," Strife chuckled as he started walking a second circle around Cupid again.

"Yes," Cupid agreed. It wasn't normal for the God of Strife to play predator and stalk another person so openly, God or mortal, and not do something in the long run. "So, would you mind letting me in on whatever prompted this crazy game?"

"Oh, you're no fun. But... I suppose I can tell you my method to the madness. Since you asked so nicely," Strife drawled out over-dramatically, now standing still behind Cupid. He placed both hands onto Cupid's shoulders, digging his fingers into the flesh just a little, enough to make the muscles beneath the skin flex in protest to the sudden pressure.

"Everyone knows about that green-eyed monster you turn into when you're jealous," Strife said quietly, hands moving lower slowly until they slid around Cupid's waist.

"So?" Cupid questioned, looking over his shoulder as he was pulled back roughly and held against Strife's slim body. "What are you getting at?"

Strife's hands unlocked for a few seconds to run up along Cupid's chest, fingertips playing against the hard nubs suddenly straining for a touch Cupid knew he should not have wanted. When Strife laced his fingers together again, hands resting against Cupid's chest now, he spoke again. "I like that about you."

Cupid's body tensed and he easily jerked out of the hold Strife had on him. "What? How—"

Strife moved quickly, two fingers suddenly pressed up against Cupid's lips to silence him. Strife grinned broadly and chuckled, ice blue eyes reflecting a dangerous desire Cupid had never seen in the eyes of any other deity or mortal. It sent shivers up Cupid's spine and made his wings fold in against his back.

"Why?" Strife said in a quiet voice, repeating the question that started it all and tapping his fingers against Cupid's lips. It was a simple question and Cupid was about to get his answer. "Because, pretty boy," he dragged his fingers along Cupid's lips, then down his cheek until his hand rested comfortably on the side of the blond's neck, "you and I, we're not so different in the end."

Cupid's wings fluttered as the God of Love became frustrated by Strife's constant word-play. Strife simply chuckled again and shook his head before resting his forehead against Cupid's. "Don't you get it?" Strife asked, breath warming Cupid's lips. "Come on. You can't deny that, on the inside, you're as ugly as I am."

Strife didn't give Cupid a chance to speak, covering his mouth with his own and forcing his tongue passed perfect lips gasping for breath in vain. When Strife pulled away, Cupid was flushed. The momentary dazed expression caused Strife to snicker as he stepped back. Cupid didn't have the chance to say a word when he recovered his senses, Strife vanished in a flash of white light.

Cupid put a hand to his chest, feeling his heart suddenly pounding. The greedy monster inside screamed, demanded that dangerous desire Cupid had seen in Strife's eyes – the one Cupid himself was suddenly feeling – be fulfilled. A moment later, Cupid vanished in his own light, following after Strife like a moth to a flame.

When Cupid appeared in Strife's dimly lit room, he was suddenly forced back onto a bed covered in black satin. Strife's mouth was on his again, and the monster inside became silent as an equally wretched creature took his breath away.