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Lexi's stomach roiled as another wave of nausea forced her over the basin. They were only dry heaves, but the feeling was wretched just the same. This made six early morning trips to the bathroom in the last two weeks, not including all the times she managed to stay in bed, deep breathing her nausea away. Thankfully, Hades had not noticed. Surely, he would have asked her about it, wouldn't he have?

It was probably time to find out if Phoebe's hunch was right, but Lexi couldn't exactly run to the drug store for a pregnancy test. Maybe Hecate had some method for testing it. Yes, that's what she would do. She would contact Hecate through the scrying mirror and ask, preferably before Hades woke up. Lexi reclined against the cool stone wall, resting while her stomach slowly returned to normal. That's when her head took over, rehashing everything that happened after she and Hades left the bath the night before.

Lexi remembered not wanting to talk about the events of the day, preferring to stay wrapped in Hades' warm, muscular arms, but there was simply too much to share. It turned out Charon had spilled the beans about the titans dying off and taking up residence in Elysium, and Hades suspected Phoebe's prophecy could be interpreted as a metaphor, which Lexi confirmed by recapping her visit with Phoebe.

Lexi purposely left out the other prophecy, the one that told of Zeus being superseded and that Lexi was the one to do it. She still hadn't wrapped her head around that unholy mess, and she wasn't about to drag Hades into it until she had. He wasn't too happy about Lexi's involvement in the new council, complaining that it would take her to Olympus more often. Fortunately, he didn't pout very long, having found distraction between her legs.

When Lexi's brain finally ran out of thoughts to torture her, she pushed up from the bathroom floor, giving her body a moment to regain its equilibrium. Then she brushed her teeth and padded into the bedroom. Hades lay still in the bed, reassuring her that he was unaware of her puke fest, but Cerberus was wide awake and standing at the edge of the mattress as if he'd been waiting there the whole time. She ruffled his fur, encouraging him to follow her if he wanted to go outside for an early morning pee. He seemed enthusiastic about the idea, leaping down and thudding heavily onto the marble tile while she tied her robe around her waist. Hades was still immobile when she and Cerberus left the room.

With Cerberus leading the way, they made their way down the staircase to the tastefully appointed great room, an Olympian-sized space decorated in artifacts from around the world. The room served as a reception and entertainment area, although Hades admitted to having hosted only a handful of parties in all the years he'd lived there. As Lexi and Cerberus walked across the room, she frowned at the terrible waste of a beautiful space, silently chastising her fellow gods for abandoning Hades. She opened the back door, and Cerberus squeezed his large body through it, bounding toward the field and lifting his leg on the nearest clump of wildflowers. Apparently, he really had to go.

"Good morning, Lady Lexi." A familiar voice echoed behind her, and Lexi turned to find Hecate walking into the room. It was both a shock and a relief to see her there so early.

"Oh, good morning, Hecate. I was going to contact you on the scrying mirror. What brings you?"

"You do, actually. I was on my way to the gates and wanted to bring by some herbs I'd like you to take in place of the Wild Yam." Hecate patted the satchel hanging at her hip as she walked up to Lexi, giving her a not-so-subtle once over.

Lexi nibbled the corner of her lip. What kind of herbs did Hecate want her to take? Surely, they wouldn't be a different form of birth control. That would be potentially counterproductive. If she was going to do this thing, she needed to come out with it. "Hecate, I was wondering if you had some kind of... um, some kind of pregnancy test."

Hecate's mouth turned up and her eyes brightened as she pulled the satchel off her shoulder and started digging through it. "It's funny you should ask, because I happened to grab the supplies needed for just such a test before I left home." She lifted a small glass vial from her bag and handed it to Lexi. "Take this into the privy and collect some of your urine, then bring it out to me and we'll have ourselves a bit of fun."

Lexi inspected the mouth of the vial, which was barely big enough to fit her thumb inside. "You want me to pee into this small tube?"

"I only need a teaspoon or so. You'll do fine." Hecate waved toward the nymph's bathroom, which stood just off the great room, flanked by a pair of wicker baskets Hades had picked up in Africa. Lexi did as she was told and managed to get the vial filled, although she had to wash her hands twice afterwards to make sure they were thoroughly clean.

When she returned, she handed the vial to Hecate, who set it on the teak coffee table, also imported from Africa. Using tweezers, Hecate extracted a brown tablet the size of a bell pepper seed from a bottle. She dropped it into the vial and the tablet immediately began to fizz, forcing bubbles to the surface.

"What do the bubbles mean?" Lexi asked as she watched Hecate bob her head thoughtfully over the vial.

Hecate looked up from her science experiment and her face split into a grin. "It means you're pregnant."

Before Lexi had a chance to react, she heard a sharp intake of breath originating from the foyer. It was Hades, standing in his robe, his bed hair falling across his forehead, which emphasized the look of shock splayed across his face as he opened his mouth to speak.

"You're pregnant?"


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