Scars of the Past

by E

Disclaimer(s): Hercules, Iolaus,Alcmene, etc, etc are not mine.(no duh, right?) They belong to the geniuses (sarcasm alert) at Renaissance. This story contains mild violence and child abuse. If you or someone you know is being abused, please find help, it's not your fault. If this kind of thing bothers you, don't read any further. It won't hurt my feelings any. Feedback is welcome, no flames please.

Dedicated to David Peltzer. Your book opened my eyes to the harsh reality of child abuse.

"A young boy hides his face in shame
So they can't see it's been battered and bruised
like he's the one to blame"
Jo Dee Messina
"Even God must get the blues"
I'm All right

On Mount Olympus, Artemis watched as a extremely tiny boy was born. She listened to the healer talk to the father. "He's a full moon early. I don't think he will live through the night. Can you hear him trying so hard to breathe? He will be lucky if he sees his first week, let alone his first birthday." Skourus took a deep breath as the reality sunk in. 'His son, not live and grow to be a strapping warrior like himself'

Artemis smiled at the small child. She could hear him fighting for breath. She waved her hand over him, and he breathed easier. Skourus was pledged to Ares her least favorite half-brother. But this child, was to be hers, she knew this. Artemis heard Erythia and Skourus discuss names for their son. Artemis whispered "Iolaus" and Erythia and her husband decided that Iolaus was the perfect name for their son.

"No more rollin' with the punches
No more usin' or abusin'. . .
No more cryin' in the corner
No excuses, no more bruises"
Shania Twain
"Black Eyes, Blue Tears"
Come on Over

Iolaus surprised the healer by surviving, by seeing his first and second birthday. But, he didn't grow as fast or as much as other children did. Skourus was rarely home, the life of a warrior, and every time he was he measured Iolaus, who always came up short.

When Iolaus turned six, he looked like a four year old. By then, Iolaus was a chatterbox. Skourus was home, and Iolaus would not stop talking. Then he made a dreadful mistake, he touched Skourus' sword. Skourus backhanded his son, giving him a bloody nose. Tears filled Iolaus' eyes, pain and betrayal evident. "Don't show me tears, you little Mama's boy. I'll give you something to really cry about, you runt, I can't believe you are my son. GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!!!!" Skourus yelled, his temper completely lost.

Pretty soon, every time Skourus was home, the hits and punches grew steadily worse. By the time Iolaus turned eight, the beatings were getting brutal. He never told anyone what his father did to him, not even his new friend Hercules. Herc was six, but was two heads taller than Iolaus. When Herc would ask about the bruises, Iolaus claimed that he tripped, or ran into a door.

Artemis was getting furious, she knew what would happen to Iolaus if she didn't act fast. Iolaus would die, and Skourus would too. Skourus had just beaten Iolaus terribly. The sight of his injuries brought tears to her eyes. None of the other gods would help, not even Zeus. Artemis started her plan, there was a way to help her chosen hunter, but it would be painful for all involved.

Alcmene was oblivious to Artemis' plans, concentrating on fixing dinner for Herc and Iolaus. She hummed and smiled as she thought of Iolaus' voracious appetite. Her smile faded a little when Iolaus walked in with a black eye and his arm in a sling. When she asked what had happened, he said that he fell from the loft, but was fine.

DInner was ready, Alcmene had fixed a varitable feast. Iolaus, out of character, didn't eat much and was strangely quiet during the meal. He brightened when Alcmene invited him to spend the night. His smile reached his deep blue eyes. After dinner, the boys helped to clear the table. Iolaus dropped a plate, it shattered, his face went dead pale and his eyes were huge. He looked like he expected all the Olympian gods to descend on him at once. He started to back out the door, when he tripped over his own two feet, and hit his head hard. He was out cold.

Alcmene rushed to his side, started to pick him up and was shocked to find blood oozing from Iolaus' back. She sent Hercules for the healer and gently picked up the small boy. She took off his shirt, tears filled her eyes as she saw his back. It was a mass of scars and fresh whip marks. No one had even seen to them. The healer arrived and bandaged the wounds. When He unwrapped Iolaus' arm noticed it was broken badly. He set it , Iolaus moaned and thrashed, but did not wake up. "This is not the first time I've seen him. He has been to visit me several times.

But he has never been so badly injured. I fear his father must have done this." The healer stated. The healer prepared to leave, "Keep him in bed for at least two weeks. Let me know if he becomes worse."

"How, by tying him down?" Alcmene questioned, knowing Iolaus' boundless energy.

"Just do the best you can, I'll come back in a week unless you need me," The healer chuckled as he left, knowing full well the task Alcmene had before her.

In a few candlemarks, Iolaus woke up. His face had a greenish tint to it. Alcmene saw the expression on his face and handed him an empty pot. He threw up, crying in pain between heaves. Alcmene soothed him and gave him the medicine the healer left. He made a face, but swallowed obediently, unfortunately the medicine came right back up. She sighed 'This could be a long two weeks'

The next morning, Iolaus woke up in agonizing pain. He tried not to cry, but Alcmene reassured him. He was running a fever, so she sent for the healer. A few candlemarks later, he was delirious. He cried out and tried to move his arms, deflecting imaginary blows. The healer had been there and gone, leaving better medicine to bring the fever down. Erythia was there for a while, but she had to leave. She couldn't stand to hear her son, who cried out, "Father, please stop! I'm not a bad boy!" Hercules stayed by his side, trying in vain to comfort his friend.

Early that morning, the fever broke. Iolaus managed to keep the medicine down. His blue eyes stared at Alcmene, glazed with pain. She explained to him that everything would be all right, he wasn't in trouble, but he had to stay in bed for two weeks. He was to tired to protest, and was about to fall asleep when a flash of bright light filled the room. Artemis had arrived, Herc immediately moved to protect Iolaus from his sister. She laughed, "Relax, little brother I won't hurt him. He's very special to me!"

She asked to speak with Alcmene alone. When the two women were alone, Artemis asked Alcmene to keep Iolaus, for his safety. She told her of Skourus and how he was pledged to Ares, so she couldn't interfere directly. Alcmene agreed to keep Iolaus and raise him as her own son. She had already fallen in love with the little boy.

Artemis left, she had business to take care of. Alcmene told the boys what was going to happen. Hercules was thrilled, he had missed Iphicles very much. Iolaus, still reeling from the onslaught of emotions, smiled and drifted off to sleep, the grin on his face. Alcmene sent Herc off to bed.

The next day, she went to talk to Erianna, the school teacher, about Iolaus and the school work he had and would miss. Erianna was concerned and told of times where she sent him to the healer, because he was so banged up. Alcmene returned home to find Iolaus out of bed. She scolded him gently, mindful of his previous home life. She told him about his homework, he went back to bed claiming he had a headache. Alcmene smiled to see Iolaus acting like his old self.

Luckily the week flew by. The healer returned and was pleased with the progress Iolaus had made. "One more week should do the trick. He can get up a little, but no rough games or school for the next week." The healer left, leaving her to wonder, what to do for the next week. Just then Herc rushed in the door, carrying a stack of papers. "Look, Iolauth, all the kidth at thchool made you get well cardth. And I made you thomething to do while you can't play." Hercules lisped eagerly in a rush. "Thanks, Herc!" Iolaus replied.

As the week passed, Iolaus got better. Erythia visited frequently, bringing treats and toys for Herc and Iolaus. She spent time apologizing to her son about the past. In no time, life started to get back to normal; at least as close to normal things could get.

Winter Solstice was approaching quickly, and Alcmene made plans. Two days before Solstice, she called the boys in and gave them their presents from Erythia. Before long, the boys were bouncing off the walls. She quieted them down and explained her plans to take them to visit Iphicles.

Iolaus looked nervous, and asked, "But what if they don't like me?" She reassured him that they would. The next day, they set off for their journey. When they got close, Iphicles greeted them, after many hugs and kisses, Iphicles noticed Iolaus. Introductions were made, and Iolaus started to talk, and talk and talk. They finally reached the house and Alcmene settled the boys in for the night.

The next morning, Timuran, the grandfather, found Iolaus jumping on the bed. He grabbed the boys arm. Iolaus, seeing his father instead of Timuran, screamed and writhed in Timuran's arms. Alcmene came running, she picked him up and soothed him, explaining that everything would be all right. She called Timuran over and took off Iolaus' shirt. Timuran was speechless when he saw the little boy's back, covered in whip marks. She sent Iolaus for breakfast and explained Iolaus' home life to a very surprised and chastised Timuran. He apologized to Alcmene and Iolaus.

That night, Iolaus had nightmares of Skourus, he hardly slept at all. Hercules asked Iolaus to sleep in his room the next night. Iolaus gratefully accepted his friends' kind offer. The rest of the holiday went by quickly.

All too soon it was time to go home. The trip seemed endless, when they arrived home, Alcmene sent the boys straight to bed. They didn't protest too much, they were worn out.

The next morning, the boys went to school. Iolaus came home with a black eye. "It's okay, Mom, you should see the other kid. He's probably got two black eyes and a bloody nose."

"Iolaus, you shouldn't be fighting." Alcmene exclaimed.

"But, he started it!" Iolaus countered.

"He'th right Mom. Iolauth and I were jutht playing and thith big kid, bigger than me came up. He thtarted making fun of uth and Iolauth told him to leave uth alone. He hit Iolauth in the eye, then Iolauth fought back."

"All right, but I still don't want you fighting. Just then, the boy's mother came along, complaing about Alcmene's "big bully of a son". Then she really looked at Iolaus and realized what had happened. She apologized and went home to punish her son.

After that, Alcmene stopped worrying about Iolaus. The nightmares finally stopped and nights were peaceful again. Years went by, as they tend to do, until Iolaus turned fourteen and Herc twelve. Herc was still taller, and Iolaus hadn't grown very much.

One day, Erythia came over, looking distraught. Skourus had been killed.

Iolaus didn't say anything, but he turned pale. That night, Iolaus woke up crying, he asked Alcmene if it was his fault.

"No, it' s not. He died in battle, most warriors don't live very long lives." she reassured him, ruffling his unruly blond hair.

The next day, Iolaus and Hercules got into a fight. Normally, they mopped the floor with anyone who got in their faces. One kid mentioned Skourus, that distracted Iolaus long enough for the bully to knock him down. His head hit a rock, and the cowardly attacker kicked him while he was out.

Hercules saw him and yelled with a voice that could shatter eardrums,"LEAVE MY BROTHER ALONE. GET AWAY FROM HIM!!!!!" Herc lost his temper and threw the kid into a stream. The rest of the kids ran away, at the sight of the enraged demigod. He went to Iolaus's side, where the hunter was waking up.

"Iolaus, are you all right? Can you stand?" He helped him to his feet, steadied him and they walked home.

Alcmene was at her wits end, she didn't know what to do with the boys. Artemis appeared and suggested Cheiron's Academy. Alcmene liked the idea, it would be perfect for both of them. She told the boys, and Iolaus wasn't sure. The training would be cool. But neither of them had ever really stayed away from home.

Finally, the boys decided that Cheiron's Academy would be better that's the village school. At least there, they wouldn't be made fun of as much.

In just a few short weeks, they left for the Academy, to find adventure, excitement, new friends, to name some of the things they would find.

There is more to this story, but those are tales for another day. (when my hands stop cramping up)

The End?!

Do you want more? Let me know, erin157@juno.com



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