Author's Note: This is based on the idea that Iolaus was a little upset that he hadn't grown enough, and tried to do something about it.

Warning: The warning is placed here for vinsmouse, who wanted a spew warning here, claiming it might be a bad idea to drink while reading the funnier parts. So please keep in mind that drinking any kind of beverage while reading this, might be hazzard'ous to the health of your screen.

Disclaimer: I do not own Hercules the Legendary Journey, I make no money and boy does that make it hard to keep the computer with power… No permanent harm will come to Iolaus but a bit of Alcmene's attention and a big bowl of chicken soup might not be amiss at the end of it…


All Things Grow

"Come on Iolaus, where are you?" Hercules cried as he looked around himself. He and his friend had arranged to play before. It was unusual for Iolaus not to show up like they had said they would, especially since the small blonde boy didn't have a lot of friends. Mostly because he was smaller than the other boys. Hercules was two years younger and still he was taller than his friend was. Iolaus had always been small for his age, even some of the five year olds seemed to be bigger than he was. It was for that reason and that reason only that the other boys seemed to prefer making fun of him rather than play with him.

He darted behind the tavern to see if he was there, one never knew with Iolaus. If he had been early he might have found it too difficult to just wait. He was an endless bundle of energy that simply couldn't be worn out, something that his mother sometimes seemed to find difficult to deal with. Hercules had noticed that younger children sometimes had more energy than older, and he had noticed that Iolaus had more than most. It could have something to do with the fact that the boy was constantly hungry, he ate more than some of the older boys did. Of course that seemed to be just another reason for them to pick on him and make fun of him.

He couldn't see his friend behind the tavern either, and since it was raining he really didn't think he would have gone all that far.

"If you're hiding I'm gonna go back home to mother," he stated firmly. "She's been baking bread all morning…"

Now, if his friend had been hiding that would have brought him out instantly. Iolaus only knew far too well that when Hercules mother had been baking bread there would be thick slices of warm bread with plenty of preserve to go on them. He never could resist it and usually Hercules didn't have to tell him either, he would sniff it out by his own accord.

Sighing and picking up a handful of pebbles he tossed them idly at the walls as he walked. Chances were that Iolaus had gone off somewhere else. Normally he was the most cheerful one around, which was just one more reason why Hercules liked him, but there were times when the teasing seemed to become too much for him and he would seek solitude.

"Come on Iolaus," he groaned, tossing another pebble. "I thought we were gonna play huh? You said we were gonna have a footrace. Stop hiding!" he added angrily as he moved around the town looking for his friend.

The rain picked up and most of the other children headed for their homes, he didn't really care if he got wet though and slowly he made his way to the weavers shop and the potters shop.

"Iolaus, I told you mother has been baking," he muttered under his breath. "Lets have that footrace and then we can go home to mother and I bet she'll give us some fresh bread."

He stopped and turned in a circle, then he headed to the stable. He hadn't looked there before because Iolaus rarely went there. He used to try but whenever he did he always got chased out by the stable man as quickly as the man spotted him.

To his great surprise he spotted him when he moved behind the stable. He almost missed him at first before the blonde hair caught his eyes. The normally golden locks were darkened by the rain and by the filth that streaked over his entire body. That part wasn't really surprising since he sat crouched down in the middle of the dung heap.

"What are you doing?" Hercules demanded as he spotted him. "You're a mess Iolaus."

"Go away," Iolaus muttered angrily.

"But we were gonna have a footrace," Hercules reminded him. The eight year old boy looked as if he was just on the verge of crying and he really wasn't used to seeing him that way. "Come on now, you're gonna smell really bad when you get out of there. We can't have that footrace until you clean off."

"Not going to," Iolaus told him. "So just go away."

"Have the other boys been mean to you?" he asked as he stepped over to the dung heap. "What are you doing there?"

"You'll laugh," Iolaus wiped rain water from his face, leaving a dirty streak on his cheek.

"I don't laugh at you, you know that," he reminded him. He hesitated before climbing up on the dung heap, but he decided he really couldn't talk to him if he didn't so he crouched down next to him. "Look, let's go clean you off, and then we can have the footrace and then we go home to my mother. She's been baking bread all day. I bet she'll give us some."

"Yeah," Iolaus wiped his face again. "But I'm not going yet."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm not," he stated firmly, and yet the longing for the warm bread and homely kitchen of Hercules' mother was palpable in his voice.

Hercules almost smiled for he knew that his friend wouldn't stop thinking about the treat until he had it.

"Come now, I bet I beat you in the race," he urged. "Or we can race by the creek, you'll be sure to win then." When they did Iolaus usually did win because they had to leap between the rocks and crouch low under low tree branches. Rather then being a hindrance his small form and agile body became an advantage then. Sometimes he also won because Hercules let him. He didn't always but sometimes he felt it was the right thing to do, when Iolaus was almost winning on his own, when Hercules knew he could win if he put in a last spurt and he chose not to leaving the victory to his friend instead.

"I don't wanna race," Iolaus stated, his lower lip protruding in a gesture of stubbornness. "Go away."

"Only if you tell me what you're doing here," he stated. "If the others have been mean I'll teach them not to. We'll fight them together then." The two of them were both good fighters and together they were even better. If the other boys had been mean he would make sure they regretted it.

"I said go away!" Iolaus pushed him but Hercules didn't even budge.

"I said my mother has been baking bread," Hercules pointed out. "Now tell me."

"I'm gonna stay here until I grow," Iolaus muttered quietly, so quietly that Hercules barely heard him.

"How's that gonna work?" he frowned. He really couldn't see how sitting in a dung heap in the rain could help him to grow.

"It is gonna work, I'm gonna grow as tall as you, and I'm gonna stay here until I do," Iolaus stated stubbornly. "Then we can go to your mother?" he added hopefully.

"We can go now," he pointed out.

"No, I told you, I'm gonna stay here until I grow," Iolaus insisted. "It's gonna work, it is. I heard your mother say so."

"My mother?" he couldn't remember his mother ever saying such a thing.

"Uhu," he bobbed his head up and down in a nod. "She put dung on the flowers remember, and then she poured water on them and she said it was so that they'd grow. She said so, and I'm gonna grow too."

"Eh, Iolaus, I don't think it works on people," he decided with a frown. "I think it only works on things like flowers."

"What?" he looked up, a look of disgust and horror on his face.

"I really don't think it works on people," he insisted. "I wish it did, but I don't think it will."

"But it's got to work," he pleaded. "I'm tired of always being so small. I have to grow, I have to Hercules."

"Well, I think it would probably work better if you came with me to my mother," he decided thoughtfully. "She always says that growing boys needs plenty of food. I bet you'll grow more from her food than from sitting in this dung heap." He stood and held out his hand to his friend who took it and allowed Hercules to pull him to his feet. "Come on, you can wash off and then we go home to my mother," he urged.

"Okay," Iolaus wiped his face again and Hercules draped an arm around his shoulders, not caring about the filth. They were friends and a little filth shouldn't stop one friend from caring about the other. They went to the creek where Iolaus cleaned of quickly, much too quickly and no sooner had the two boys set foot inside the house before Hercules mother sent them both of to proper baths. She had been anticipating two muddy boys and had already heated water for the large wooden tub. Though she knew she could smell something other than mud the hot water and soap would work just as well. When they entered she knew something had been going on for both boys were unusually quiet, but within five minutes after they were both placed in the wash tub they were laughing and splashing water everywhere. She left them alone for some time, then inspected them to make certain they were indeed clean, gave them each a large blanket and urged them to the table where she had put thick slices of warm bread and full mugs of milk for them. While they ate she would wash their clothes and hang them in front of the fire to dry.

Both boys instantly dug into the bread, cramming as much as possible into their mouths.

"Hercules," Iolaus started with his mouth full and his friend looked up at him. "Do you really think this will make me grow big?"

"I think it might take a little time," he decided. "But I think that one day, you'll be the biggest warrior of all."

At first Iolaus seemed hesitant to believe him, but then he broke out into a big smile. Hercules never doubted the truth of his words. Iolaus had a big heart, he cared about others and only wanted to see everyone happy. It made sense that he would one day be a big hero…

The End

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