Author's Note: This is a one shot with Hercules. Iolaus is about to become a father.
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…
*Important note* This story is my 100th story posted, and I chose to make it one in honour of the birth of my nephew. So thank you for reading.
When Iolaus came running to them Hercules didn't have to ask what was going on. He knew that Anya was expecting any day, and given the agitated state the blond hunter was in, this was the day. Alcmene didn't even allow him to open his mouth, she simply took the basket she had kept standing by the door, walked out into the yard before turning around and asking them if they were coming.
Iolaus tried to run back, but Hercules stopped him. It would take a few minutes to hitch up the horse, but Alcmene couldn't run all the way back, and the horse was a lot faster than walking.
Alcmene had also instructed him quite firmly that Iolaus was his charge while she took care of Anya. It wasn't that his mother believed that men were always in the way, but she knew Iolaus. He couldn't stand the thought of someone he loved being in pain, and if left alone he might do something foolish.
Now he was trying to help them hitch the horse up, but he was so agitated he kept fumbling and Hercules ordered him to the side where he would be out of their way while Alcmene assured him it would be fine.
When they finally reached his cottage he didn't wait for them to stop, he leapt to the ground, stumbling slightly as he ran inside.
"Keep him busy," Alcmene urged. "Water, wood, go hunting if it's the only thing that works, but keep him busy and don't let him in."
"I won't," Hercules promised. Iolaus had taken the hand of his wife and was trying to comfort her. Anya looked relieved to see Alcmene and allowed herself to be led into the bedroom while Iolaus remained behind looking like a lost puppy.
"Come, we have work to do," Hercules told him, taking his arm. Knowing his task he made his friend fetch water that Hercules put to boil, then ordered him to chop wood.
Iolaus entered with an armful and put it by the stove, "wood," he declared. "Herc…."
"It hasn't been long, and Mother is taking care of it," Hercules pointed out. "We need some more water Iolaus, you'd better fetch some from the well."
"Right, water," he nodded to himself. As he went out the door to fetch water Hercules remained where was, he waited until Iolaus had gone to the well and came back into the kitchen then he gave him the water bucket he had forgotten. As soon as he had gone again he opened the kitchen window and emptied one of the large water pots. The flowers there were getting positively drenched he knew, but so far Iolaus hadn't notice that he had been sent for roughly ten times the amount of water that all the pots in the kitchen could hold.
He took several buckets of water, and then eventually Hercules took the bucket from him and sent him after wood instead. That was another useful task. Iolaus didn't seem to remember all the wood they had stacked behind the barn just the week before, so he went splitting it with the axe. Hercules wasn't about to tell him about it either, the only problem was that it was harder to dispose of the wood. If he had emptied it out the window Iolaus would have noticed, even if he hadn't given the mud puddle out there any thought. Instead he took the wood to the window and threw the sticks out, just far enough to be hidden by the trees, he didn't want to risk anyone being hurt by them.
Then as he came in with a fresh armload Iolaus paused, "Herc, something is odd."
"What is?" Hercules wanted to know.
"I had wood brought in for two days, but it's gone," Iolaus put the wood down by the stove.
"We'll figure it out later Iolaus," Hercules comforted him. "You know, why don't we start the food eh? There's no point in going hungry and I'm sure both Alcmene and Anya will be glad of something to eat."
"But we can't cook," the blond objected. "We can't Herc, you know that."
"It'll be good enough," Hercules assured him. "We can make a simple stew, it'll be good enough."
"Stew, okay, I guess," he agreed reluctantly.
"Get some water for it Iolaus," Hercules urged gently. Iolaus grabbed the bucket and hurried out, then he came back inside.
"I need the bucket," he declared, looking around by all the pots over the fire.
"I'll get it for you," he took it from Iolaus, handed it back to him and watched him head to the well. If he wasn't so worried himself he'd be laughing over his friend. He had gotten so used to having to go back inside for the bucket it was now a habit. He emptied a pot for the stew and allowed Iolaus to refill it with more water. Then he sent him out into the garden for some vegetables.
When he came in again he was almost covered in mud, but he had an armful of half crushed vegetables that he dumped out onto the table, never noticing how the cabbage fell to the floor.
"Did you dig for them?" Hercules asked and he scratched his head.
"No, it's really weird Herc, but there's a huge mud-puddle right outside," he pointed through the wall.
"It was raining yesterday," Hercules shrugged.
"No it wasn't," he shook his head, sending a few drops of mud flying.
"You sure?" Hercules asked, praying he wouldn't figure it out.
"Yeah," he nodded, and a glop of mud slid from his hair down his face. Iolaus didn't seem to notice.
"We'll figure it out later," Hercules promised him and Iolaus appeared to be satisfied. Hercules fetched out the cabbage rinsed it off, then tried to keep an eye on Iolaus. He had never been a great cook, though he usually was at least competent. Now however he was so distracted there was no telling what he might do. Hercules put him to peeling potatoes, figuring that was safe. He thought it would be, until he caught him depositing the peel in the stew pot while looking to the bedroom door.
Smiling to himself Hercules fished the peel out, he didn't know if the stew was going to be edible, but he'd do his best to keep an eye on Iolaus. They would probably need something to eat later, and he wasn't sure if Alcmene wouldn't be too tired to cook if it took long.
He had just given Iolaus the task of slicing the carrots when there was a scream from the bedroom.
They both jumped and Hercules found he dropped the cabbage to the floor. This time it rolled in under a piece of furniture and he figured it was taking shelter from the proceedings. He winced knowing that childbirth tended to be a painful experience to say the least, and that was saying far from enough, and glanced at Iolaus.
Cursing under his breath he went over to him. The blond had jumped just as he was about to slice the carrot, and had sliced his arm instead but that wasn't what bothered Hercules. He was deathly pale and swaying unsteadily where he stood. He couldn't blame him, hearing your wife scream like that was probably enough to turn any man pale.
"I think you'd better sit down," he mused as he took the knife from him. He got him down on a chair, and noticed that he was on the verge of passing out. Grabbing the back of his neck he got his head down as he remembered someone telling him you should do. It seemed to work, Iolaus was able to take a few steady breaths, then sat up straighter.
"Gods Herc…" he gasped.
"It's gonna be okay Iolaus, mother is in there with her," Hercules pointed out. "She's done this before. It sounds a lot worse than it is."
"Herc, we've been through a lot, and we never screamed like that," he shook his head.
Hercules thought he had heard a scream or two like it, but was wise enough to keep that opinion to himself.
A second scream followed the first, and he looked to see if Iolaus was going to be sick. The way his face looked that was a very real possibility, but instead his friend slipped boneless and quietly to the floor.
Sighing softly he decided to not try to wake him, he was a lot easier to manage like that. Instead he inspected the cut from the knife. It wasn't exactly a life threatening injury but stitches wouldn't be a bad idea so he decided to leave that for Alcmene. She was a lot better at it than he was. He bound it up with a rag and then settled down to wait and keep an eye on him.
He didn't blame him, the screams made him feel somewhat nauseated and in a way he was impressed that he hadn't fainted at the first one. Cheiron had once said that fainting was a line of defense when the mind couldn't cope anymore and it made sense.
He steeled himself for enduring the rest of the wait and tried to finish the stew, but he knew it wasn't going to be any good and eventually threw it out.
Iolaus stirred later, and climbed to his feet with a groan. "What happened?" he mumbled.
"Nothing really," Hercules decided. He wasn't sure he wanted to tell him he had passed out. That would make him think about why again.
"Nothing?" Iolaus rubbed his head, looked at his arm and frowned. He was about to ask Hercules about it when there came a piercing wail.
Iolaus swallowed, looking at him, his mouth open.
"I don't know," Hercules didn't know what it meant. He knew what he hoped it was, but he couldn't be sure.
"Herc," Iolaus pleaded, his face pale and his hands trembling violently.
Hercules wanted to comfort him but didn't know what to say, before he could figure it out Alcmene came out of the room.
"You're a father Iolaus," she smiled. "Do you want to come in and see your son, or do you need a minute?" Looking at the two of them she thought they probably both did. Many of the women liked to talk about how men had all the fun of having children, and how they didn't understand the way the woman suffered for it. Yet looking at them now, and remembering the children she had given birth to she was glad for her role. It had to be easier than to be able to do nothing but wait like that.
"She's fine," she smiled as she went over to the son of her heart and cupped his cheek in her hand. "I know what you're thinking my boy, but everything is fine, and your wife wants you to see your son. Do you think you're ready?"
"Yeah," he nodded, but he swallowed hard.
"What happened to your arm?" Alcmene suddenly frowned, then she saw the mess on the kitchen table from where they had tried to cook. "Oh, we'll take care of that later," she decided. She led him into the bedroom while Hercules stayed in the kitchen. There was a chair beside the bed and she pushed him down on it.
"Anya?" his voice was hardly more than a whisper as he reached for her hand, and held it gently in his own.
"We have a son Iolaus, a son," Anya whispered, her eyes full of tears. "He's so beautiful, he looks just like you."
"A son?" Alcmene's words before hadn't registered fully in his mind, but now he looked to her.
"A very handsome son," Alcmene smiled as she took the tiny wrapped bundle and laid it in his arms. He drew in a deep breath, terrified, but she soothed him quickly by showing him how to hold his son.
"You did this with Hercules when you were not much more than a baby yourself," she reminded him. "You won't hurt him, now go on dear, have a good look at your son."
He looked at the face, eyes screwed closed and mouth slightly open and thought he had never seen anything so beautiful. A tiny hand twitched, and an equally tiny foot kicked his stomach. Fingers twitched and toes curled, and then there was a tiny sound, not quite a wail, but a plea for comfort just the same and Iolaus responded to it. He wasn't aware of the tears that slowly made their way down his face as he beheld his son. His tiny beautiful son, and he bent his head to kiss the rosy cheek.
Alcmene had gone to Anya, and was helping her wash a little, she needed to sleep, but she would sleep better for it.
"I've never seen him like that before," Anya whispered. "So, so…" she couldn't find the words to describe it.
"Being a father suits him," Alcmene agreed. "He's practically glowing with it, but I'd better take him with me now. You and the baby both need to rest."
"Yes," Anya was exhausted, she couldn't deny it, but she also wanted her husband with her.
"I'll bring him back later, he needs rest to," she smiled knowingly. She just wanted to have a look at his arm, and Anya didn't need to know about that. She placed Aelus in his mother's arms and led Iolaus out of the room again. He didn't object, he was stunned and all he could do when he saw Hercules was to smile. Tears still fell, but he smiled like the sun.
"Hercules, I'm a father, I have a son…"
One baby was born during this fanfic, and this story is in honour of the birth of my nephew….