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"Have you lost your senses!"

The bellow came from the scrying mirror, and Hades rolled over, dragging the bed sheets with him. He recognized the voice of his imperious brother, although he had not expected to be woken by him. Raising his head off the pillow, Hades opened his eyes to take in the lovely form of his dearest Lexi. She stood across the room in front of the mirror while Cerberus paced protectively around her legs. Beneath her robe, Lexi's stiff-backed pose gave away her annoyance, although she maintained a calm, determined tone as she responded to Z's belligerence.

"I would appreciate it if you would lower your voice, Zeus. Hades worked late and he is still asleep."

"I was asleep," Hades corrected her.

Lexi turned around, offering Hades an apology in the form of a kiss she blew to him. When she returned to the mirror, her expression hardened. "Now you've done it. Hades is awake."

"Good. I want him to know what a mockery you're making of your position on the council and of the ridiculous requests you are proposing."

"They are not ridiculous, and Hades knows. I share everything with him."

"And you ignored his counsel and sent the agenda as it is, because you know best?"

Z's sarcasm had Lexi grunting out a huff. "And you're assuming Hades disagreed with the agenda as it is."

"Of course, he did. Most of it flies in the face of our convictions as gods. Your agenda contradicts our way of life."

"Ha! A life created by the bylaws you wrote." Lexi's hands found her hips as she posed in front of the mirror. "Have you ever considered the fact that Hades does not live like you or the rest of the gods. He is banned from Olympus and can only leave the underworld when the council sees fit to allow it."

Silence followed Lexi's rant, and Hades slid out of bed, making for his wardrobe. If she needed his support, it would be best to accomplish it in a clothed state.

"Lexi, try to see it from my point of view. I have held my post as father of the gods for eons. I know what it takes to keep the peace, and I recognize the types of notions that are destined to start wars. You are stirring a dangerous pot." Z's tone came out forced and just shy of condescending. Lexi continued on her current trajectory.

"Well, maybe the pot needs to be stirred. It is clear the current methods are not facilitating the health and longevity of Gaia, and I think the gods have lost sight of her original intent. I am not suggesting an overhaul of the bylaws, just a review. Times have changed, Zeus, and ignoring it may seem convenient, but it will only make the inevitable fallout worse. We need to be proactive, not reactive."

Skirting the room, Hades kept out of sight of the scrying mirror as he pulled on his robe. The more he listened to Lexi make her point, the more he admired her. In all honesty, it made him want to bend her over a chair and fuck her soundly. Z, however, was not so impressed.

"Are you suggesting that we, as the council of the gods, deliberately neglect our duties? You listen to me, and listen well. You have been aware of your goddess nature for a meager three years, not even that, and while your gifts are impressive, your mouth could be your undoing. Greater gods than you have been sentenced to Tartarus for lesser crimes than blasphemy."

"Blasphemy! Now you're being ridiculous." Lexi threw her hands in the air, nearly tripping over Cerberus as she stepped closer to the mirror. "If the damned bylaws are the only issue, scratch them off the objectives and present the agenda to the council with the three remaining. I don't want to fight with you anymore. It makes me sick to my stomach."

"I have no intention of presenting this to the council. The only objective worth discussing is the one addressing philanthropy, the others are irrelevant to the purpose of your legacy council. I want a complete revision of the agenda before I consider taking any further action."

"It is not your job to withhold an agenda from the council and you know it. You're merely the moderator."

Z's face turned several shades of red, and his nose pressed against the mirror as he shouted. "And I am the father of all gods! Do not you forget your place, Alexandra. You stand before me. Not beside me."

The mirror went dark, and Lexi released a breath as her chin dropped to her chest. In two long strides Hades was at her side, folding her in his arms. Her body trembled as she hugged him, and they took several breaths together, letting silence erase the tension. Hades knew how immersed Lexi could become in a cause, and this surely came as a strong blow to her.

"I know what you're thinking," she said against his chest. "You did warn me."

"And I am proud of you for disregarding my warning and taking the difficult path. You are behaving more like a god than your stubborn father. I remember a day when the gods possessed spirit, charting courses and championing causes. Now they sit in their luxurious palace behind a table of endless decadence, sated by their position of power." Hades stepped back and imparted a smile he hoped would quell her doubts. "Your convictions for what is just and fair is only surpassed by your compassion, Lexi. I am certain you will succeed in any endeavor you undertake. The minotaurs are a prime example. It is because of you their numbers have recovered."

A tear touched the corner of Lexi's eye, and she shrugged it away with her shoulder. "When I was growing up, I never imagined myself getting involved in politics. Yet, here I am, dealing with a bunch of egotistical know-it-alls. I understand why so many people choose the path of least resistance, although everyone has to face the pricks eventually."

Hades laughed and tightened his grip on her. "You have a way with words, which is one of the reasons you are so skilled at dealing with those egotistical know-it-alls. Speaking of which, would you like to accompany one of them downstairs to indulge in a decadent breakfast?"

Lexi didn't appreciate his joke and shook her head at him. "Don't compare yourself to them, Hades. Your humility separates you from your counterparts in Olympus. They could all learn a lot from you, starting with the proper way to treat a lady. I can't tell you the number of goddesses who have asked me how to convince their mate of the advantages of monogamy."

Hades' eyebrows tweaked of their own accord, giving the impression her revelation had shocked him, when in fact it had not. "Maybe those goddesses have not found the right mate yet. I did not realize the benefits of monogamy until I met you." He dipped her backward, holding her head in the palm of his hand as he took his fill of her eyes. "You have made an honest god of me, my lady."

Lexi's arms dropped limply to her sides as she surrendered to his control, and Hades hardened against her thigh. He knew how to read an invitation, and he swiftly lifted her off her feet to carry her back to bed. Monogamy definitely had its advantages.


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