((This is my response to the A-Z Challenge.))

“And just why are we doing this again?” Iolaus asked with a heavy sigh.

“Because we promised,” Hercules answered for the seventh time.

“Can’t we just...” Iolaus began.

“Don’t even go there,” Hercules warned.

“Even if we...” Iolaus continued.

“For the last time, Iolaus, no!” Hercules interrupted. “End of discussion.”

Grumbling under his breath, Iolaus irritably kicked a small rock out of his way.

Hercules eyed his partner with some unease.

“If you really don’t want to do this, I can take care of it myself,” the demigod offered.

“Just don’t know if we can handle this! We’re going to get in way over our heads!” Iolaus argued.

Kicking the rock again, the hunter flushed. “Sorry. It’s just been a...”

“Long journey,” Hercules nodded. “I know.”

“Makes me crazy they’d just assume we’d have nothing better to do than...” Iolaus grumbled.

“No, Iolaus, I agreed when they asked,” Hercules shook his head. “I should have asked you first. I’m sorry.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Herc!” Iolaus suddenly grinned. “We’re...”

“Partners. I know,” Hercules solemnly agreed. “But I still should have asked you first. I’ll understand if you don’t want to do this.”

“Quit it!” Iolaus half-shouted. “It’s not a problem, Herc!”

“Really?” Hercules glanced at his partner.

“Sure,” Iolaus suddenly grinned. “It’ll be fun.” He hesitated. “And it won’t be for long, right?”

“Trust me,” Hercules promised. “Just a couple of hours.”

“Unless something comes up and they’re delayed?” Iolaus suddenly blanched. “You know how they can be sometimes.”

Very firmly, Hercules squeezed the hunter’s arm. “Not going to happen. I promise.”

“Why didn’t they ask Xena and Gabrielle to do this?” Iolaus pondered.

“Xena turned them down,” Hercules muttered.

“You know, I’m going to get Xena for this,” Iolaus promised.

“Zeus, I hope Bliss is potty trained,” Hercules sighed.

“Zeus! I hadn’t thought of that!” Iolaus gasped.

“You know, maybe it won’t be so bad.” Hercules forced a smile.

“Xena is SO dead,” Iolaus muttered.

“What can we do with Bliss?” Hercules asked after a moment.

Vaguely, Iolaus shrugged.

“Unless we tire him out so he’ll go to sleep early,” Hercules suggested.

“Tire him out! Herc! He’s a god! A little one...but still a god!” Iolaus shouted.

“Sorry!” Hercules irritably apologized.

“Really a lame idea, Herc,” Iolaus grumbled.

“Quibbling isn’t helping,” Hercules grumbled in return.

Patting the demigod’s arm, Iolaus muttered. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to yell.”

“Oh, it doesn’t matter,” Hercules smiled.

“No...really...Herc. I’m sorry,” Iolaus apologized with a grin. “I’m just nervous about this.”

Matching the hunter’s smile, Hercules nodded.

“Look, we’ve both had kids,” Iolaus pointed out. “We can’t have forgotten everything.”

“Kinda hope not,” Hercules fervently agreed.

“Just gotta remember we’re the ones in charge,” Iolaus resolutely continued.

“Iolaus, that never worked for me,” Hercules ruefully admitted.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Iolaus suddenly giggled. “I remember.”

“Great,” Hercules grumbled.

“Fine. We’ll be fine,” Iolaus doggedly repeated to himself.

“Easy for you to say,” Hercules grunted.

“Diapers! I’m NOT changing...” Iolaus’ voice trailed off as they stopped at the top of the hill and stared down at Iolaus’ forge.

Cringing, they saw a rainbow arched over the forge with tiny horses galloping up one side then sliding down the other side.

“Bliss,” the two heroes groaned in unison.

“After you, Herc,” Iolaus finally sighed.