Disclaimer: This story is not intended to violate any copyrights held by MCA, Universal, Renaissance Pictures, or any other entity involved in the productions of Hercules: the Legendary Journeys.

This is a non-profit thing, so keep your money to yourself. ;) Your comments on the other hand I’m allowed to collect. *hint, hint* silvermoon@iolausian.net

Description: This story is a result of the IWC Story Challenge "Rewrite the ending of Surprise so that it was not Alcmene but Iolaus about to jump from the parapet."

Okay, so I'm not in the IWC, but I thought I give it a go anyway. Enjoy!

Surprise (Reprise)

By Linda "Silvermoon" Svensson

Hercules was in the kitchen with his mother, brother, Jason and Falafel. It had been quick work finding and giving them a piece of the apple.

"Has anyone seen Iolaus?"

"He and I went to the west wing to search for you, but then we parted and..." Jason stopped and looked down at his bloody sword. "Oh gods! I thought it was a demon, I swear. It never crossed my mind that it could have been Iolaus!"

Hercules looked at his stepfather in despair. "You… He's…"

"No! No no. It wasn't a deadly wound. But he's probably losing a lot of blood. We better split up and search the castle. We've got to find him."

Iolaus ignored the blood that oozed from the wounds on his chest and arm. All he could think of was to get away from the hideous form of his future self. That, and to find Hercules. He was about to call out the name one more time when he rounded a corner and saw his friend in the other end of the corridor.

"Hercules! There you are. Where have you been? We've looked all over for you." Iolaus started to walk up to him, but stopped when he saw the demigod's face. "Herc, what's wrong?"

"That's enough! I can't stand it anymore. Don't call me that!"

"What? Don't call you 'Herc'? But that's what I always call you..." Iolaus looked at his best friend with questioning eyes.

"Yes, I know! And I hate it! You would think that you would get a clue when my family and friends all call me Hercules!" He paused and looked down on Iolaus who had his mount wide open. "Yes, that's right" an evil grin took place in the otherwise so good-looking face of the demigod, "I don't count you among them."

"I-I-I don't understand…"

"That's just it. You never did, did you? No one likes you, Iolaus. Not me, not mother, not anyone. Did you really think we could love a pathetic little runt like you?" When he continued he spoke with a false concerning voice. "Oh, you did? That's so sad."

Iolaus felt like his heart had been ripped out of his body, and he couldn't stop the tears from coming down his face. "No, please. This can't be happening." His voice was no more than a whisper. He wanted to turn around and run away from his torturer, but he couldn't move.

"What I can't understand," Hercules continued with a cold voice. "is how you didn't see this coming. Your own father hated you for Zeus' sake! Well, get this, everyone in this castle does too!" And with that the tall man started walking away.

Iolaus was soon alone in the corridor and was finely able to move his feet. It took him some time to realize where he was headed.

Hercules didn't need to search for long before he found the trail of blood. He followed it up the stairs and out on the parapet. His heart almost stopped when he saw the silhouette of his friend near the edge. "Iolaus, stop! What do you think you're doing?!" There was no reaction.

He slowly worked his way towards the hunter. When he only had a few feet left the blond turned around and looked at him with accusing eyes. "Why didn't anyone tell me? Why did you make me live a lie?"

"Iolaus, I don't know what you're talking about. But if you come down from there, maybe we can sort things out." He stretched out his hand for Iolaus to grab, but his friend didn't move a mussel. "Please, Iolaus. You have lost a lot of blood. Please come down so I can help you."

"Why should I keep living if I can't be by your side?"

"Iolaus, you're not making any sense. Why shouldn't you be at my side? Please, take my hand."

The hunter began to reach for the outstretched hand but before he could take it, his legs gave away beneath him. Hercules managed to grab his hand and pull in his friend before he went over the edge. But it resulted in that they both ended up in a pile on the parapet.

The demigod carefully moved the unconscious body off him and then kneeled beside it. He took out the now somewhat squashed piece of apple and lightly shook the hunters shoulders. "C'mon Iolaus, wake up." Two eyes opened up and tried their best to find something to focus on. "I need you to eat this." Hercules put the slice in Iolaus' mouth.

When he had chewed and swallowed a troubled feature came upon the hunter's face. "Iolaus, you okay?"

"I'm so sorry, Herc."

The demigod sighed. "Iolaus, you have nothing to be sorry for. I don't know what you remember, but you were drugged! It was just your imagination. Do you understand that?"

"Yeah." He paused and looked up in the blue orbs of his brother by heart. "Herc?"


"I love you."

"Uh." the demigod blinked surprised. "I love you too, Iolaus."

"Good." And with that Iolaus closed his eyes and fell into a healing sleep with a peaceful smile on his lips.

~The End.

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