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Hades was in the bath when he heard Lexi speaking to Poseidon through the scrying mirror. After asking if his delinquent son, Ink, had shown up, Poseidon inquired about the call Lexi had placed to the palace earlier that day. Despite the powerful unease Hades felt whenever he imagined Poseidon and Lexi occupying the same space, Hades knew Lexi reserved her body for him alone, and Poseidon would have eternity to curse himself for his mistake.

"I wanted to talk to you about the agenda Odessa and I have been working on for the new council." Lexi spoke with purpose, making it easy for Hades to listen in. "Odessa presented the agenda to Zeus and he called me this morning, fit to be tied. To be more precise, he was behaving like a complete ass, and he refuses to present the agenda to the council."

"Yes, I got wind of it through Odessa." Poseidon's voice was subdued, making it difficult for Hades to hear him, so he expedited his bath as he listened more intently. "She received a message from Zeus requesting a revisitation of the objectives you cited, specifically the reinterpretation of the bylaws. Whose idea was that? Yours, I assume."

Poseidon chuckled and Hades imagined Lexi pursing her lips. She took her obsessions seriously. "Yes, but I told Odessa we could drop that from the agenda if it met with objection. Zeus is disregarding the entire proposal without giving the council members an opportunity to weigh in. It is totally ridiculous and ego-driven. I was hoping you could talk some sense into him."

Poseidon laughed even louder, and Hades grabbed his towel, hopping out of the bath and heading into the bedroom as he dried off. Lexi was standing in front of the mirror with her hands firmly attached to her hips. She didn't even glance his way as she glared at Poseidon's reflection.

"Lexi, your father has accomplished a great many feats during his long, illustrious life," Poseidon argued. "Not to mention saving both mine and your mate's ass. He is not used to being challenged, especially from one of his offspring who should be fearing him and revering him."

"Ha! He'll need to stop acting like an egomaniac with a Narcissus complex before I revere him. He's had a problem with me ever since I joined the council. Actually, he's had a problem with me ever since I disobeyed him and moved to the underworld with Hades. It's about time he accepted the fact that I have a mind of my own, and I am not a pawn he can move around at a whim. And, I definitely don't fear him."

Lexi started pacing in front of the mirror, snorting air through her nostrils, while Hades wrapped his towel around his waist and made his way toward her. Poseidon acknowledged Hades with a nod before continuing his rebuttal.

"Lexi, you would do well to fear Zeus. He is a powerful god with a volatile temper. He sent his own father to Tartarus. I learned long ago to accept the hand I was given and do my job without objection. You may have inherited some of Zeus' gifts, but you will get farther if you heed his authority."

Lexi stopped in front of the mirror to yell a bit more. "Is this how he has managed to keep a stranglehold on the inhabitants of Olympus? Has everyone learned to surrender to his demands rather than push for change? No wonder he is so insufferable."

"Why do we need change, Lexi? Everyone is happy with the status quo. I think you are reading too much into..."

"Forget it, Poseidon." Lexi's hand came up to quiet him. "I thought the council wanted to help restore Gaia no matter what the cost, but I see I am on my own with this. Mark my words. I am not going to let Zeus push me around like he does the rest of you. I will have my say or die trying."

Slapping her hand against the glass, Lexi silenced any supposition Poseidon may have contributed and stomped toward the fireplace where she waved her arms in front of the flames, causing them to flare violently. It was a trick she had learned after a particularly heated argument with Hades about... actually, it was about Poseidon. Since then, Hades learned to trust Lexi when she said she was not being seduced by his handsome and charming brother. Hades approached her cautiously.

"Lexi, please don't let him..."

"Save it, Hades." Lexi crouched in front of the fire, seemingly unaffected by the flames reaching over the hearth. "I don't expect you to understand my motives, and I don't feel like talking about them right now."

Hades came to rest behind Lexi, wrapping his arms and legs around her. The fact that he was naked under his towel seemed to distract her from her angry mood, and she sat down, snuggling against his body as she fingered the hairs on his leg. He absorbed her deep inhales and breathy exhales, his chest moving in and out as hers did. He loved her with every breath that passed his lips, and he tried to express this as he embraced her.

"You don't have to talk, my sweet, as long as you never deny me the opportunity to offer myself as solace."

Lexi turned her head to accept the kiss he placed on her mouth. "I would not be half the goddess I am without your solace."

Hades rested his back against his chair, giving in to the exhaustion of the day. Building a crib had proven to be more difficult than a bed, and he admitted to having forgotten a few things. He knew Lexi felt the same exhaustion, after her conversations with his stubborn brothers and the misfortune of Pesca's miscarriage. Even a goddess of her immeasurable compassion and vitality had her limits, and he prayed his beloved would not be beaten down as she waged a war he feared there was no hope of winning. 

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