Disclaimers: None are mine, they belong to Ren Pictures and mythology. Macaria's background was created by a friend and tweaked by me. Neither of them may be used elsewhere.

Author's Note: This is a result of watching the classic Hercules TV movies and wanting to write something. So of course, I choose Macaria as my muse. Set after "Maze of the Minotaur" and right before "The Wrong Path". Very alternate universe. Iolaus has married Anya and lost her, and the children they had. Hercules is still married to Deianira and their children are still alive. This is not part of "Twisted Lies" series but it helps to read that to know who Macaria is. Also, Strife is alive in my stories. I didn't like how Callisto killed him, so I kept him alive :)

Summary: Strife gives Macaria the Cronus Stone, which accidentally transports her to the past...where her mother and brothers are still alive.

Chapter Two—Bonding

Deianira did know how to kill a chicken. A chore she found more amusing than anything else. "Big bad hero." She scoffed and took the squawking chicken from Hercules. "You can slay a Hydra with three heads, but you can't defeat a simple barnyard animal?" She held it up and Hercules backed away.

"That thing didn't peck you all the way home did it?" He asked, holding up his hand. There were peck marks all over it. His wife meerly chuckled and shook her head. "You have company waiting for you." She said. "Your sons are in the barn with Iolaus. He's teaching them how to fight like they do in the East."

Hercules smiled. "I'll be back." he gave his wife a kiss and headed outside. Sure enough, he could see Iolaus as he was trying to help Kronus do a back-flip. He managed to swing the boy around and land him safely on the ground.

Of course, Aeson wanted to go next. "Me next, Uncle Iolaus! Me! You promised!"

Hercules smiled at the scene and watched as Iolaus patiently explained the trick to Aeson, who was able to do the "back flip" as well. Illea was inside as well and Hercules watched as she conned Iolaus into showing her how to do the back flip too, despite the boy's protests. "Well." The demigod choose this as his moment to approach. "I see traveling the East has been good for you."

Iolaus gave his charming laugh and grinned. "Herc!" He greeted, holding his arm out for Hercules to shake.

Hercules went as though to shake his friend's arm but instead pulled him in for a hug. The two men smiled at each other. "It's good to see you."

"Likewise. I've got so much to tell you." Iolaus said.

"As do I." Hercules gave him a meaningful look, one eyebrow raised. Iolaus tilted his head. He knew that look and wondered what it meant. "Anyway. Was just showing the kids some of my new moves." He grinned and bounced into position, holding his hands out in front of him. "Who's ready to take me on?" Iolaus asked.

"Me!" Came the shouts of three children as they attacked Iolaus at once. The hunter went reeling backwards, letting out a cry and landed on his back. "Help! I'm attacked by midget warriors!"

Hercules laughed to himself, shaking his head. He was glad to see Iolaus smiling again. After the death of his wife Ania and their son who followed her a few months later it looked like Iolaus would never smile again. But now, he seemed to be the cheery man Hercules once knew.

"Who won, Uncle Iolaus?" Illea asked, as she and her brothers sat on his chest. "It was me, right?"

"No, it was me." Aeson insisted. He gave Illea a look. "Besides, I already told you. Girls can't fight. Get over it."

"Macaria can!" Illea protested. "She can do backflips and hang from trees!" She stuck her tongue out at her brother.

Hercules scooped Illea up. "I think that's enough." He said. "Come on guys, you don't need to be fighting all the time. And not on Iolaus. Let him rest a moment."

"Aww, I'm alright Herc." Iolaus sat Aeson and Kronus down, then looked up at his best friend a little confused. "Macaria?"

"It's a long story but one I want to talk to you about."

"I've got the time."

Hercules carried his daughter as he left the barn, Iolaus and the boys following. "Put me on your shoulders, Daddy." Illea insisted. "I wanna be as tall as you." Hercules chuckled to himself and did just that as the little girl clung to his head while he walked.

"So there's something going on huh Herc?" Iolaus asked as he walked. He was careful to monitor the conversation knowing that children were present.

"You could say that. It's a strange story. Still not sure I believe it."

The hunter looked up at his friend, wondering. He could sense a serious subject was approaching and fast. As they reached the hut, Hercules sat Illea down. She hurried up the steps, her brothers joining.

"So what's going on Hercules?" Iolaus asked.

"I don't know how to explain it." the demigod did look confused. "All I can say is-"

"Who's that? Since when did you buy a slave?" Iolaus demanded suddenly. "Hercules, I can't believe you'd buy a slave! She doesn't look old enough to even be away from home!" He admonished as a girl about sixteen came out of the edge of the woods. She carried a bit of firewood with her.

"What? She's not my slave, Iolaus." Hercules insisted. "She's...she's my daughter."

And at the shocked look on Iolaus's face, Hercules began the strange tale.

###

Iolaus wasn't sure what to make of Hercules's story. It was odd. A Time traveler from another place...brought here by Strife. He shook his head. She did look like she could maybe be his best friend's daughter. For Hercules's sake, he hoped it was.

Dinner with the family had been nice. It'd been great to see Hercules, Deianira and the kids again. Though seeing Hercules's small family made him ache for the death of his only son. He could still see the baby's smile, hear him coo in his mind. Quickly the hunter shut these thoughts off. He had time to mourn and although he would miss both son and wife he could no longer dwell on those times. He would become that shadow of the man he was. Iolaus turned his thoughts to something else. Hercules's new house-guest.

He had watched her carefully through dinner, wondering if she was Discord or Strife masquerading as a girl. Strife had once masqueraded as a student when they'd been cadets at Cheiron's Academy and nobody had been the wiser for a long time. And yes, Iolaus had to admit that he saw Deianira and Hercules in the girl.

"There you are, Iolaus." Deianira came outside. In her arms were a bundle of blankets and pillows. She smiled at him. "I brought you some blankets for tonight. Hercules is setting up the den for you."

"Oh, thank you Deianira." He smiled and took the bundle from her. "What do you think of all this?" He asked the woman.

"Of our guest, you mean?" Deianira nodded once. "I believe her. She looks like Illea. She's my daughter." the woman said simply. "I'll help her any way I can."

"Hercules thinks it's a trick. Something to do with Discord or Strife maybe." Iolaus warned the woman. "They've done things like this before."

"Did he tell you her story?"

"Yeah."

Deianira sighed. "I understand that Hercules is protective of me and the children, but that's his child too. I can see it even if he can't. It's something a mother knows." She gave a shrug. "Anyway, welcome back Iolaus." Deianira leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "Goodnight."

"Night, Deianira." Iolaus smiled gratefully at the woman and watched her walk inside. He headed inside in time to catch Macaria as she must have been getting ready for bed. "Hello." Iolaus greeted.

"Oh...Hello." Macaria flashed him a quick smile. "Goodnight, Iolaus."

It surprised him that the girl knew him already. But then again, given her story...

"Night." the hunter shook his head and headed into his own area to sleep in. Sleep came easy to him since he'd been on the road for a long while. It was good to be back home and with people who loved him. The hunter's eyes closed and soon he'd drifted off to sleep.

Morning came too quickly. Iolaus was up when he heard the kids eating breakfast in the kitchen and Hercules arguing with Deianira about something. Iolaus grabbed his vest and slipped it on and walked into the kitchen. "Morning."

Hercules turned. He was covered in sticky oatmeal and looked upset. Deianira was trying not to laugh. "Aeson is a messy eater." Hercules explained to his friend.

Iolaus chuckled. "Well, sure. Blame it on the kid."

"There's a plate for you, Iolaus." Deianira motioned to the table. Macaria was already there. She had a slightly amused look on her face and was eating.

"So you are going to be able to go to Myzontius today?" Macaria asked Hercules. He took a cloth and wiped his chest, getting rid of the sticky mess.

"I should be able to." Hercules agreed. "It'll take two days to get there. Ready for an adventure?" He asked Iolaus.

Iolaus grinned lazily and helped himself to some warm bread and butter. "As long as I don't get kidnapped by any Minotaurs this time, sure." He grinned and took a bite of the bread. "Where we going?"

"Myzontius." Hercules said. "To the Temple of Ares."

Iolaus almost choked. "You sure this is a good idea?"

"Not really but it shouldn't take long. Macaria needs the directions there so we'll escort her." Hercules was slipping his favored yellow vest on and making sure there was nothing sticky on it.

"Fine with me." Iolaus agreed. He rose and made sure to take his plate to the sink before Deianira could do anything. Hercules gave him a smile and he handed the rag he was cleaning himself with to his wife. "Come on, let's go."

The three headed outside, with Deianira forcing a basket of goodies in their hands. "Food for the trip. Be careful." She waved and watched as they started down the winding road that had brought Macaria to her destination.

A strange silence settled over them. Iolaus took a quick glance at the girl. She looked like a warrior, not like how he imagined that Illea would look like one day. He wondered why. What happened to Hercules's daughter to give her that shadowed look in her eyes?